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The world’s second-largest Ferris wheel will be built in Seoul

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An artist’s rendition of the Seoul Ring [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]
An artist’s rendition of the Seoul Ring [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

The world’s second-largest Ferris wheel will be built on a hilltop park in western Seoul by late 2027, offering a panoramic view of the Han River and bustling capital.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday announced further details on the so-called Seoul Ring, days after the city’s mayor, Oh Se-hoon, told foreign diplomats during an event that a Ferris wheel akin to the London Eye will come to Sangam-dong in Mapo District, western Seoul.

According to the city government, the structure will be built on the sprawling Haneul Park, which used to be a landfill. The garbage dump was transformed into an ecological park during the early 2000s.

Seoul Ring will be designed as a “spokeless” Ferris wheel, the city said, meaning there won’t be a central hub.

An artist’s rendition of the Seoul Ring [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]
An artist’s rendition of the Seoul Ring [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

The structure itself will be 180 meters (590 feet) high, second only to the Ain Dubai Ferris wheel located near the Dubai Marina in the United Arab Emirates, which height is 257 meters. Among the world’s spokeless Ferris wheels, Seoul Ring will be the tallest.

When considering the fact that Haneul Park (which translates as “sky park” in English) is 96 meters above sea level, the highest tip of the Seoul Ring will be 276 meters above sea level, higher than that of Seoul’s 63 Building, which is 264 meters.

Inside the capsules, which can fit as many as 25 people each, information on Seoul will be provided in augmented reality technology, and through multiple languages.

Below the Ferris wheel, there will be an underground “cultural space” where visitors can experience digital and cultural-themed programs. There will also be an elevator with large windows through which people can see the park’s layers of landfill sediment.

To improve accessibility to Seoul Ring, the city said it was considering the construction of an underground tunnel connecting the structure to the nearby World Cup Park, a gondola lift, and a sloped elevator.

Seoul Ring will be operated entirely by renewable energy.

Construction for the project will commence in June 2025 and end by December 2027, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said.

The entire project is expected to cost around 400 billion won ($303 million) and will be covered by investments from the private sector.

An artist’s rendition of the Seoul Ring [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]
An artist’s rendition of the Seoul Ring [SEOUL METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT]

Hong Sun-kee, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Future Urban Spaces Planning Bureau, said during Wednesday’s press briefing that further details on feasibility and design will be determined after discussion with businesses in the private sector.

While explaining why Haneul Park was chosen as the site to host Seoul Ring, Hong, among other reasons, mentioned its geographical vicinity to North Korea, saying that Seoul Ring was likely to serve as some sort of a “new gate” ushering in a new era when the two Koreas unify.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government’s idea to build a gigantic Ferris wheel in Sangam-dong has received mixed responses from the local community, with many complaining that the city is trying to placate residents who are furious about a new incinerator.

Last year, Seoul announced that it would build another waste incineration plant in Sangam-dong by the end of 2026, with operations beginning the following year. The current plant in the neighborhood will be demolished in 2035 and converted into a park, Seoul said, leaving Sangam-dong with two incinerators from 2027 to 2035.

Hong dodged questions from reporters on Wednesday asking whether the Ferris wheel was a conciliatory gesture.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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