The Han River, also known as the Hangang, is a significant watercourse in the South Peninsula of Korea. It is important to note that while most of its territory extends into South Korea, some of its tributaries originate in North Korea.
This river ranks fourth in length among all the rivers of the Korean Peninsula, second only to the Yalu, Tyumen and Nakdong rivers. Starting its journey in the eastern mountains of the Korean Peninsula, this river is formed from two small rivers that join near the capital Seoul.
The Han River and its surrounding areas have played a significant historical role in Korea. The three kingdoms of the peninsula sought to control this land, since the Han River was an important trade route to China through the Yellow Sea. At the moment, the river is not an active waterway due to its location on the border between the two Koreas, which is closed to civilian navigation.
The water of the Han River is the source of more than 12 million people in South Korea. In 2000, the US military admitted to accidentally dumping formaldehyde into a sewer system that flows into this river, prompting massive protests.
The lower Han River is home to walking and cycling paths, public parks and restaurants, especially in Seoul. According to a 2011 Seoul Development Institute survey of 800 residents and 103 urban planning and architecture experts, 51.3 percent of residents and 68.9 percent of experts named the river as the second most scenic spot in the city after Namsan which took first place.