From a hardened concrete-and-steel economic powerhouse, Seoul is evolving into a softer-edged 21st-century urban ideal of parks, culture and design. Contemporary architectural marvels include the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park and the revived stream Cheong-gye-cheon, crafted into a city centre aquatic oasis. Traditional Korea culture lives on in the alleys of Bukchon where hanok harbour craft workshops and galleries can be found along with tranquil teahouses. Seoul’s temples, churches and shrines are visual reminders of the variety of religions and cultural practices that are bedrocks of local life. Major religious festivals and events such as the Lotus Lantern Festival and Jongmyo Daeje are also well worth scheduling your visit around. Throughout the year Seoul’s daily culture of shopping and eating can be enjoyed at the sprawling markets of Namdaemun and Dongdaemun as well as the herb medicine market in the east of the city.