Seoul, officially the Seoul Special Metropolitan City – is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea. As the 4th most economically powerful city in the world, measured by GDP, Seoul is one of Asia's major centers of culture, entertainment, and research, with additional strengths in the arts, commerce, education, finance, media, services, and tourism. Seoul forms the heart of the Seoul Capital Area, the 5th most populous in the world, which is also one of the most populous urban agglomerations and includes the surrounding Incheon metropolis and Gyeonggi province, altogether home to roughly half of the country's population.
Strategically situated on the Han River, Seoul's history stretches back over two thousand years, when it was founded in 18 BC by the people of Baekje, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. The city was later designated the capital of Korea under the Joseon dynasty. Seoul is surrounded by a mountainous and hilly landscape, with Bukhan Mountain located on the northern edge of the city.