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A Trip to South Korea

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While neighboring North Korea makes worldwide headlines with threats and demands, South Koreans have adjusted slightly to possible dangers, but largely carry on with their everyday lives. The war that halted in 1953 reverberates strongly today, including the continued strong presence of U.S. military forces near the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas. South Koreans have rapidly become a country of digital natives, with city dwellers quickly adopting new technologies. The megacity of Seoul now has a population nearing 11 million -- more than 20 percent of the entire country, all living in one dense, sprawling city, home to highrise apartments, shamanistic shrines, and grand palaces. Collected here are recent images from South Korea. [36 photos]

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A South Korean Buddhist hangs colorful lanterns to celebrate the forthcoming birthday of Buddha at the Chogye temple on May 3, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. Buddha was born approximately 2,557 years ago, and although the exact date is unknown, Buddha's official birthday is celebrated on the full moon in May in South Korea, which is on May 17 this year. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
A South Korean Buddhist hangs colorful lanterns to celebrate the forthcoming birthday of Buddha at the Chogye temple on May 3, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea. Buddha was born approximately 2,557 years ago, and although the exact date is unknown, Buddha's official birthday is celebrated on the full moon in May in South Korea, which is on May 17 this year. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Part of Gangnam area in Seoul, on October 2, 2012. Gangnam is the most upmarket neighborhood in the South Korean capital. Known as Seoul's "Beverly Hills", its streets are lined with designer-brand shops and trendy bars and restaurants. South Korean singer Psy, famous for his hit song "Gangnam Style", was raised in this area. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won) #
A man crosses a stream under the lanterns hanging for the upcoming Buddha's birthday on May 17, in Seoul, on May 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) #
More than two thousand housewives make Kimchi for donation to the poor in front of City Hall in Seoul, on November 15, 2012. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of fermented vegetables usually mixed with chili and eaten with rice or served as a side dish to a main meal. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
A sales clerk reads at her kiosk in downtown Seoul, on April 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #
During an anti-terror and security drill, South Korean soldiers take their positions as a man takes a photo with his iPad in a subway station in Seoul, on April 15, 2013. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
Civilians and members of the military and emergency services participate in an exercise simulating a chemical attack on a subway station on May 8, 2013 in Seoul. The United States, Japan and South Korea remain on alert despite reports that neighboring North Korea has removed a set of ballistic missiles from a launch site. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
Emergency service personnel wearing chemical protective clothing participate in a chemical incident exercise on April 16, 2013 in Seoul. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
A couple take a picture at Bukchon Hanok Village, a traditional village in Seoul, on June 5, 2012. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
A dancer suspended in the air by a crane performs during sunset at a park in Goyang, north of Seoul, on May 4, 2013. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
A man spins a fire can during "Jwibulnoli", a South Korean folk game by the Han River on February 23, 2012 in Seoul. The event is part of "Daeboreum", a Korean holiday that celebrates the first full moon of the lunar new year. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
South Korean rapper Psy performs during his concert "Happening" in Seoul, on April 13, 2013. Psy recently rleased a new single, hoping to repeat the success of "Gangnam Style" that made him the biggest star to emerge from the growing K-pop music scene. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won) #
British veterans line up during a ceremony commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the 29th Brigade's actions during the Imjin River battle at the Gloster Memorial, near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul, on April 23, 2013. South Korea's Defense Ministry held the event to remember those foreign soldiers who fought in the Korean War. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #
South Korean teenagers participate in a warfare exercise as part of the Special Warfare Command's training course at a military base on August 4, 2011 in Seoul. About 1,000 civilian volunteers including middle and high school students participated in the special force's four-day training program to develop their spiritual and physical strength. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
U.S. Army Patriot missile air defense artillery batteries, at the U.S. Osan air base in Osan, south of Seoul, on April 5, 2013. North Korea had placed two of its intermediate range missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them on the east coast of the country in a move that threatened Japan and U.S. Pacific bases, South Korean media reported. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won) #
Buddhists holding lanterns walk around a giant lantern featuring national treasure "Seokgatap," which is a traditional Buddhist pagoda, during a lighting ceremony in central Seoul, on April 23, 2013. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
A boy feels his head after it was shaven during a ceremony before Buddha's upcoming birthday, at the Jogye temple in Seoul, on May 3, 2013. Ten children entered the temple to experience life with monks for 16 days leading up to Buddha's birthday. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
A vendor sits in her shop near a church in Seoul, on April 19, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #
A woman naps at a coffee shop as a man walks past in downtown Seoul, on April 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #
Shirtless South Korean Marines and their U.S. counterparts from 3-Marine Expeditionary Force 1st Battalion from Kaneho Bay, Hawaii, run on a snow covered field during their February 4-22 joint military winter exercise in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, on February 7, 2013. More than 400 marines from the two countries participated in the joint winter exercise held for the first time in South Koreas. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) #
Amphibious assault vehicles of the South Korean Marine Corps throw smoke bombs as they move to land on shore during a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill in Pohang, about 370 km (230 miles) southeast of Seoul, on April 26, 2013. The drill is part of the two countries' annual military training called Foal Eagle, which began on March 1 and ran until April 30. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won) #
South Korean Marine Corps take part in a practice for a U.S.-South Korea joint landing operation drill in Pohang, on April 25, 2013. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won) #
U.S. Marine soldiers load an M1A1 battle tank into an amphibious landing craft known as the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) during the Combined Joint Logistics Over The Shore (CJLOTS) exercise, as a part of the annual joint exercise "Foal Eagle" by the U.S. And South Korea, in Pohang, on April 22, 2013. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
A mother helps her son walk on a step-stone bridge to cross a river in Seoul, on April 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #
Thousands of newlyweds in a mass wedding ceremony of the Unification Church at Cheongshim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Unification Church founded by evangelist reverend Moon Sun-myung in Seoul in 1954, performed its first mass wedding in 1961 with 33 couples. Approximately 3,500 couples attended this mass wedding. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
Five years ago, on February 11, 2008, firefighters extinguish a fire at Sungnyemun Gate, or Namdaemun Gate, South Korea's "No. 1 national treasure", in Seoul, South Korea. The fire was set by an arsonist, completely destroying the structure. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
On May 4, 2013, South Korean women wearing the traditional Hanbok march on the street in front of the newly-rebuilt landmark Sungnyemun Gate, or Namdaemun Gate, during its reopening ceremony in Seoul. (Reuters/Lee Jin-man/Pool) #
South Korean President Park Geun-hye wearing traditional dress stands near the participants wearing traditional military uniforms during Sungnyemun Gate restoration ceremony in Seoul, on May 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, Pool) #
Sungnyemun Gate, fully restored, on May 4, 2013 in Seoul. The ancient gate made up one of four gates that protected Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), and the restoration has been painstakingly completed after an arson attack five years ago. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
Children pose for souvenir photos near a fountain in downtown Seoul, on April 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) #
A man looks at a war display in the Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, on April 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #
Costumed promoters of cafes comfort a friend in a shopping district in central Seoul, on April 8, 2013. (Reuters/Lee Jae-Won) #
South Korean elementary school students wearing masks with schoolbags on their heads gather on the ground after escaping from their classrooms during an earthquake drill in Seoul, on May 7, 2013. Students throughout the nation took part in drills ranging from fire to terror attacks and earthquake as part of the annual drills called Safe Korea Exercise. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) #
South Korean protesters wearing masks displaying the flags of the United States, left, North Korea, center, and South Korea, right, participate in a rally to mark Global Day of Action on Military Spending near the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, on April 15, 2013. The protesters demanded a peaceful unification of the Korean peninsula. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
A South Korean child holds a candle during a rally denouncing the annual joint military exercises, dubbed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, involving forces from South Korea and the United States, in Seoul, on March 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
A resident walks beside a church at Guryong Village with a backdrop of high-rise buildings of Seoul's Gangnam district, in Seoul, South Korea, on April 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung) #

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