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Seodaemun (서대문) and Mapo (마포) are in northwestern Seoul, by the banks of the Han River. They're most notable for having a high concentration of colleges and universities, resulting in a distinct, youthful culture, especially in the twin subdistricts of Hongdae (홍대) and Sinchon (신촌), separated by a single subway stop, a 10-minute bus ride, or a 20-minute walk. These two districts are home to some of Seoul's most boisterous nightlife, and Hongdae in particular is unique for having a strong underground indie music and arts scene, a welcome break from the sometimes unbearable monotony and conformity of the rest of the city.
Seodaemun gets its name from the Great West Gate of Joseon-era Hanseong. The gate is now gone, having been dismantled by the Japanese during the colonial period, but the name has stuck as a reminder of the past.

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