Itaewon, site of deadly stampede, known for hip nightlife, chic restaurants

SEOUL– Itaewon, the site of Saturday’s deadly stampede that killed at least 149 people, is known for its hip nightlife and chic restaurants, making it a favorite hangout among young people in their 20s and beyond.

Itaewon’s bars and clubs have long served American troops stationed in the country as the neighborhood is located near the former main garrison of the U.S. Forces Korea in central Seoul.

The district is also home to many foreign embassies, ambassadors’ residences and houses of worship for minor religions in South Korea, such as Islam and Judaism.

With the relocation of the USFK headquarters to Pyeongtaek, 65 kilometers south of Seoul, Itaewon began to shed its image associated with American troops and reemerged as a vibrant entertainment and shopping district.

The neighborhood also became the center of attention as President Yoon Suk-yeol relocated the presidential office to the former defense ministry compound near Itaewon in May.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a serious blow to businesses in Itaewon and Saturday’s Halloween festivities had been hoped to mark another return to life after the pandemic.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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