Dongdaemun Market or Tongdaemun (abbreviated DDM) is the large commercial district comprised of traditional markets and shopping centers in Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. A popular shopping and tourist destination, it has been designated a Special Tourism Zone (관광특구) since 2002.
Dongdaemun Market opened in July 1905 in Yeji-dong (예지동 禮智洞), whose name means “a neighborhood for learning politeness”, so the market was originally called Baeugaejang (배우개장, “market for learning”). The market was also called Gwangjang Market (광장시장) as a company of the same name was set up as market management.
The market was set in a closed structure until the Korean War, when the market was completely destroyed. The market slowly rebuilt over the years, and in 1959 a building was constructed and the market was revived. In 1998 and 1999, large shopping malls such as Geopyeong Freya, Migliore, and Doosan Tower were built in the district and the market was renovated with a modern atmosphere among the traditional market.
Dongdaemun Market is located near Dongdaemun of which it takes its name. The market has 26 shopping malls situated over 10 blocks, 30,000 speciality shops, and 50,000 manufacturers. The market sells all types of goods but notably silks and fabric, clothes, shoes and leather goods, sporting goods, plumbing and electronics, office supplies, fortune tellers, toys and food areas specialising in Korean cuisine. It also has many pet shops.
The market was traditionally a night market and wholesalers once operated from 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Now, the area is open for 18 ½ hours a day from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., with some stores open 24 hours a day, although most stores close on Mondays and holidays.
Section 1 – retail shops The main street divides Dongdaemun Market into two sections. Section 1 is on the side where Doosan Tower is found, and Section 2 is on the side of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park, the old site of Dongdaemun Stadium. Huge shopping malls in Section 1 basically sell wholesale and retail goods, but mostly deal with general customers and tourists at retail prices. Thus, they have facilities like money exchanges and information desks with English speaking staff. Opening hours are also aimed at general customers, opening from 10 am to 5 am the next day. Major shopping malls are Doosan Tower, Migliore, Freya Town and Hello apM.
Section 2 – wholesale shops Shopping malls in Section 2 sell goods both in wholesale and retail, but mainly sell in bulk. Malls here usually open at about 8 pm and close at 8 am or 5 pm the next day. The peak time comes late at night through early morning. Since most shops deal with wholesalers, there are no dressing rooms. Major shopping malls in Section 2 are Designer’s Club, Migliore Valley, Nuzzon, Gwanghee Fashion Mall, Jeil Pyeonghwa, and Heungin Stardom. Among them, Jeil Pyeonghwa and Heungin Stardom attract customers in their thirties and forties. Teens and youth in their twenties usually visit Designer’s Club, Migliore Valley, Nuzzon and Gwanghee Fashion Mall.