New and Better Mapo-gu
Gongdeok-dong# Eastern area
The origin of the name "Gongdeok" is not clearly known. However, it has been hypothesized that it was derived from the Korean word "deogi" or "deok" meaning "a flat place on a high plateau", or "keun deogi" that means "a hill." Some insist that the name came from the old name of the area, "Gongdeok-ri."
Singongdeok-dong# Eastern area
The name "Singongdeok-dong" is a combination of "Gongdeok-ri" that had existed during the Joseon era and "Sin-dong" that was newly created near Gongdeok-dong. The area had been mostly farmlands to grow crops until the assassination of Empress Myeongseong in 1895 when it began to be inhabited by people. At that time, a man surnamed Kim who served as a minister in the Joseon government decided to go to the countryside with his family and become a farmer for he hated the chaotic atmosphere within the fortress as Japanese soldiers were all around the city. He led his family to Maponaru Port, where, however, he changed his mind and settled in the nearby area. The area is known to be today's Singongdeok-dong.
Dohwa-dong# Eastern area
Famous for peach blossoms in spring, Dohwa-dong has been called "Boksa-gol" or "Dohwanae-dong" since the Joseon era (“Boksa” and “dohwa” mean peaches and peach blossoms, respectively.). Dohwa-dong today includes Samsung Apartment and Useong Apartment complexes and the surrounding areas. With the construction of the Gyeongwon Line in 1905, residential zones started to be formed here and the traces of the old days are hardly found today.
Mapo-dong# Eastern area
This was where Maponaru Port was in the past, and the name "Mapo-dong" originated from the port's name. Maponaru Port was the most crowded of the five water transportation hubs along the Hangang River (Ttukseom, Noryang, Yongsan, Yanghwajin, and Mapo) and originally called "Samgae" which later changed to "Mapo".
Tojeong-dong# Eastern area
This is where Yi Ji-ham, a scholar of the Joseon Dynasty, lived. Until few years after the liberation of Korea, there still remained an empty site known as the site of his house, but today, only a monument to him stands near the former site. Among the old village names in Tojeong-dong are "Araet (Upper) Tojeong" and "Wit (Lower) Tojeong", which suggests that the area has long been called by this name ("Tojeong-ri" in the past).
Yonggang-dong# Eastern area
There are two hypotheses about the origin of the name. First, in the Feng Shui theory, the area represents the head of a dragon in the entire shape of the Hangang River. In Korean, "yong" means "dragon" and "gang" means "river". So, it is thought that this name was given to the area. Second, "Yonggang" is considered to be a combination of "yong" of "Yongsan" and "gang" of Seogang.
It was also called "Ongmak" and "Ong-ri" or "Dok Mak" and "Dok Maeul" because there were many workshops that baked earthenware jars ("dok" or "onggi" in Korean). Later in the process of indicating the name in Hangeul, it was changed to "Dogi-dong" and then "Dongmak". In Dongmak, a large number of earthenware jars and pots were produced and sold. They were used not only for storing salted seafood or kimchi, but also for making liquor. According to
Sinsu-dong# Eastern area
The initial name of Sinsu-dong originated from Sucheol-ri. The name "Sucheol" came from the area's former names "Musoemak" and "Musumak". "Musoe" or "musu" mean cast iron and the area was called by these names as there were many workshops manufacturing cast iron caldrons and farming tools to be offered to the country. Also, as cast iron was melted and poured onto batang (mold) in the manufacturing process of caldrons, there was a place called "Batanggeori" within the area.
Gusu-dong# Eastern area
The name "Gusu-dong" means "an old village nearby Sucheol-ri". Like Sinsu-dong, there were workshops where cast iron caldrons and farming tools were manufactured and offered to the country here and thus the area was also called "Musoemak" and "Musumak".
Hyeonseok-dong# Eastern area
During the reign of King Sukjong of Joseon, Park Se-chae who served as the Second State Councilor, lived at Sodongru in this area. The name "Hyeonseok-dong" was taken from his pen name "Hyeonseok." The former name of the area was Nongam. On the other hand, it is also argued that this area was named "Hyeonseok" as there were many black stones around it ("Hyeon" and "seok" mean "black" and "stone," respectively.). For this reason, in the past, the area was also called "Gameundol Dongne." "Gameundol" is the old form of the word "Geomeundol" meaning "black stone." So, the residents here often called this area "Utgameundol Maeul" meaning "a village on black stones" or "Angameundol Maeul" for it was created on a mountain ridge with many black stones. Until the Joseon era and the Japanese occupation era, the Hyeonseok-dong area was where the rich who made their fortune through commerce lived, constructing their summer houses, pavilions and luxurious tile-roofed houses.
Sinjeong-dong# Eastern area
"Sinjeong" means "a new well" but it is not known where it was located in the past. There was the site of Gongse, the Joseon Dynasty's institution that collected taxes from ships passing through Seogangnaru Port in the current 96-beonji area in Sinjeong-dong, but it was removed in the construction process of riverside roads. There was also a shrine for Prince Sado at 77-1 beonji in Sinjeong-dong, which was demolished for the construction of the riverside roads.
Daeheung-dong# Eastern area
Daeheung-dong was called "Dok Mak" or "Dok Maeul" which means "a place where earthenware is produced and sold." During the Japanese colonial period, however, the name changed to "Dongmak" as it was mistakenly indicated by the Japanese. The upper and lower parts of the area were also referred to as "Dongmak Sangni" and "Dongmak Hari," respectively. Recently, the area was renamed Daeheung. The development of the area began from 1929 when the Yongsan Line connecting Yongsan and Dangin-ri was constructed. A small town where earthenware was made into a developed city area with the completion of Dongmak Station, a way station on the railroad that transported goods to Dangin-ri's thermal power plant.
Yeomni-dong# Eastern area
During the Joseon era, salt was rare and valuable. At that time, all the ships loaded with salt from across the country gathered at Maponaru Port. So. Mapo was famous for salt and there was even a salt brand called "Mapo Yeom." For this reason, many neighborhoods in Mapo have names related to salt. Sogeummeori-gol in Mapo-dong had a salt market where ships loaded with salt busily moved in and out. Near Dongmak Station in Daeheung-dong was a large salt storage. In Yonggang-dong, earthenware to contain salt were produced and sold. Yeomni-dong, in particular, was a place inhabited by many salt traders. They put their salt in the earthenware jars that they bought in Yonggang and exchanged them with fish at the port.
Ahyeon-dong# Eastern area
The name Anyeon-dong originated from its old names "Aeugae" and "Aegogae". Here, "ae" and "gogae" mean "a child" and "hill," respectively. During the Joseon era, when people died, their bodies were buried outside the fortress. In particular, Aeogae Hill was a place where the corpses of children were buried contained in earthen jars. In fact, many graves of children were found around the San-7 beonji area in Ahyeong-dong. It is also presumed that the hill was named "Aegogae," literally meaning "a child hill," as it was a smaller hill than the nearby Mallijae Hill. Sogeummeori-gol in Mapo-dong had a salt market where ships loaded with salt busily moved in and out. Near Dongmak Station in Daeheung-dong was a large salt storage. In Yonggang-dong, earthenware to contain salt were produced and sold. Yeomni-dong, in particular, was a place inhabited by many salt traders. They put their salt in the earthenware jars that they bought in Yonggang and exchanged them with fish at the port.
Hapjeong-dong# Central area
In the past, the area was a village located near Yanghwanaru Port. The village was named "Hapjeong," meaning "a well with shellfish." which was found in it. During the Japanese colonial period, the Chinese character representing "hap" in the name was replaced by a simpler one with the same pronunciation. The well from which the area name originated was near the current Jeoldusan Martyrs' Shrine. This well, where executioners sharpened their swords, had many shells on the bottom. However, the well was demolished for the construction of riverside roads.
Mangwon-dong# Central area
The name was taken from Mangwonjeong Pavilion, which was a famous scenic spot on the banks of the Hangang River in the past. First, this area was called the same as "Mangwonjeong" or "Mangwonjeong-dong," but later, with the omission of "jeong," its name changed to "Mangwon-dong." As Mangwon-dong is located on a low, flat land on the riverside, other various old names referring to the villages, fields and streams in the area have been passed down until now, including Moraenae, Moraebatdeul, Mulchumbatdeul, Bappuldukdeul, Bangulnae, and Saepuritteul. Aside from this, "Buldang-gol" (a village with a Buddhist shrine) "Byeokdolmak" (a village producing bricks) and "Saemal" (a new village) are some of the old village names still known to the locals. Especially the village where the evictees from Jangchung-dong was called "Moraenae" or "Sinmangwon-dong." In addition, the stream near the area at 21, World Cup-ro 31-gil, was abundant with snake-head fish, carp and catfish that went upstream from the Hangang River and sparrows so that the locals would catch them all night while holding kerosene lamps.
Seogang-dong# Central area
The area name originated from the Seogang River to the west of the Hangang River. The section of the Hangang River flowing from Maponaru to Yanghwanaru Ports was called "Seogang" or "Seoho," meaning "a river on the west." These names contrast with "Dongho," a name meaning "a river on the east" given to the Hangang River section around Oksu Station located at the northern end of the Donghodaegyo Bridge.
Hajung-dong# Central area
The former name "Hajung-ri" changed to the current one. The area was called "Jung-jeong" in 1944, during the Japanese occupation, but became "Hajung-dong" in 1946 in accordance with the rules for the change of the Japanese dong names to Korean ones.
Dangin-dong# Central area
At the time of the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592, the Japanese forces led by Konishi Yukinaga and the Chinese (Ming) forces led by Li Rusong were stationed in this area. As China was usually referred to as "Tang" ("Dang" in Korean) at that time, the area was called "Dangmal," which later changed to "Dangin-dong".
Changjeon-dong# Central area
There was Gwangheungchang, a storage of rice paid as taxes, on the eastern ridge of Wausan Mountain during the Joseon era. The name "Changjeon" means "in front of the storage," which suggests the location of this area in the past. The left and right banks of the Changcheon Stream flowing in front of the storage were inhabited by government officials, commoners and low-class people, respectively. So, the noblemen living on the left side of the stream were called "Seogang Yangban." They were low-rank officials who had a humble status within the city fortress, but here in this area by the river outside the fortress, they enjoyed respect for just wearing hat and robes only allowed to noblemen. So, at that time, the residents living on the right side (east) of the Changcheon Stream were often mocked for "serving Seogang Yangban."
Nogosan-dong# Central area
It is usually thought that the area was named after Nogosan Mountain; however, it is also hypothesized that the name means that it was a neighborhood with many aged people as it was near a seonangdang (village deity shrine). Nogosan-dong has been famous for mineral spring known to be effective in the treatment of eye, skin and intestinal diseases. Since the area is on the foot of the mountain, hill names such as Bungogae, Gatbanggogae and Munjiulgogae have been used here. Nogosan-dong was incorporated into Seodaemun-gu after the liberation but integrated into Mapo-gu in 1964 as part of administrative district restructuring.
Seogyo-dong/ Donggyo-dong# Central area
In the past, the stream rising from the valley in Yeonhui-dong split into several branches in this area and a number of small bridges ("zandari" in Korean) were set over the brooks. The downstream side with araet zandari (lower bridges) was called "Seosegyo-ri" and the upstream side with wit zandari (upper bridges) was called "Dongsegyo-ri". Through the administrative district restructuring in 1936, Seosegyo-ri and Dongsegyo-ri were changed to Seogyo-jeong and Donggyo-jeong, respectively, which, became current Seogyo-dong and Donggyo-dong in 1946's administrative district reorganization.
Sangsu-dong# Central area
The name "Sangsu-dong" is believed to have been given to this area as it is the uppermost of all riverside villages ("sang" and "su" mean "upper" and "water," respectively). It is also presumed that the name originated from the area's former name "Saeteonmal" meaning "a new village". "Saeteonmal" was changed from "Singichon" by which the village was called during the Goryeo era. This area was used as a cemetery for the people living within the city fortress during the Joseon era and for the Japanese until 1957.
Hasu-dong# Central area
Located slightly lower than the other villages by the banks of the Hangang River, it was given the name "Hasu-dong," of which "ha" and "su" mean "lower" and "water," respectively.
Yeonnam-dong# Central area
Yeonnam-dong (Mapo-gu) was named as it was split from Yeonhui-dong ("yeon") and located to the south ("nam") of it. The neighborhood has the shortest history in the Mapo region and it has been known that there were many water parsley fields in this area.
Jung-dong# Western area
"Jung-dong" is a translation of "Gaunde Maeul" and "Gandemal" meaning "a village in the middle" in Chinese characters. Jung-dong is also referred to as "Jo-dong" as the Hanyang Jo clan lived here for a long time.
Seongsan-dong# Western area
The name is a translation of "Seongme" and "Seongmi" in Chinese characters, which mean mountains surrounding this area like a fortress. Under the name "Seongsan-dong", this area includes various places called Dwitdeul, Muriul, Pulmugol, Angul and Saemal in the past.
Sangam-dong# Western area
Sangam-dong is the largest neighborhood in Mapo-gu and the name "Sangam-dong" is a combination of "Susang-ri" ("sang") and "Hyuam-ri" ("am"). The Susang-ri area was called by various names such as "Mulchi," "Mulwichi," "Susaek," and "Susaeng-ri" that mean "a village across a vast field in front of Susaek-dong" and originated from the frequent inundation of the area by the Hangang River during the rainy season. Hyuam-ri had also another name, Bueongbawit-gol, which came from an owl-shaped rock in this area. Ancient Koreans believed that the orchid flowers growing here would tell whether the country was ruled in a proper way. It was also referred to in Taengniji (A Guide to Select Villages), a geographical book of the Joseon era, as an auspicious land with good natural conditions based on the feng shui theory.