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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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food, bread, hashtag highlight, south korea, Instagram,

Hashtag Highlight: Sampling South Korea’s Bread Culture Through #빵스타그램 (“breadstagram”)

For more photos and videos of the wide variety of breads found in South Korea, browse the #빵스타그램 (“breadstagram”) hashtag.

In South Korea, bread has historically never been a prominent part of the daily diet. As European bakeries expand their businesses into Seoul, however, local’s love for the food has grown. Bread has even taken in root in the culture to the point of becoming a popular topic for local TV shows and magazines.

While classic croissants and baguettes populate the regular lineup, the most common types of breads from these bakeries contain sweet fillings such as red bean paste, sweet potato paste or whipped cream. Bakers sometimes also add sweet rice in the flour dough for chewiness, top the bread like pizzas or make animal shapes out of them to add an extra creative twist. Local Instagrammers have picked up on documenting this new wave of bread culture by adding the #빵스타그램 hashtag (bbangstagram or, translated, “breadstagram”) to their photos and videos of bread to share their personal favorites and reviews with the Instagram community.

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Location Feature, gamcheon, south korea,

Exploring the Art at Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을)

For more photos and videos of the village’s art, explore the 감천문화마을 (Gamcheon Culture Village) location page.

Gamcheon Culture Village (감천문화마을) in South Korea is a small village filled with art and history. Located on a mountainside in southern Busan, locals often compare the village’s view of dense buildings to Greece’s Santorini, Peru’s Machu Picchu and even Lego blocks for its shape and colorfulness. Inside the village, narrow alleys spread throughout the city like a maze where people are likely to run into multi-colored buildings, quirky art installations and stylish galleries.

The village, also called Taegukdo Village, was founded in 1918 when thousands of people, many of them followers of the Taegukdo religion, fled to the war-free area of Busan. As a village settled by war refugees, it existed as one of the poorest areas in the region until very recently. In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism launched a project to preserve the village, turning it into the artistic community it is today. Now, the picturesque scenery the village provides is known to be a great place for photos, and many local and visiting Instagrammers alike come to document and share the art found all over the city.

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current event, graduation, south korea,

Capturing Graduation Season in South Korea

To see more photos and videos of graduation celebrations in South Korea, browse the #졸업식 (graduation ceremony), #졸업 (graduation), #졸업축하 (congratulating graduation) and #학사모 (mortar board) hashtags on Instagram.

This week, students across South Korea celebrate their graduation as many schools reach the end of their school year. During this season, streets in and around school campuses turn festive with numerous pop-up shops lining sidewalks with flower bouquets, food and party favors to add to the excitement of the joyous day.

With one of the world’s highest high-school-graduation and college-enrollment rates in the world, the schooling environment in the country is extremely competitive, making graduation an especially important milestone in South Korean life. Classmates, family members and extended relatives gather for the celebration, and Instagrammers attending graduation ceremonies are sharing their special moments with the world.

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Location Feature, gyeongju, south korea,

Exploring the Historical Site of Anapji (안압지), South Korea

For more photos and videos from Anapji, explore the 동궁과 월지 (안압지) / Anapji location page.

Within the historical grounds of Gyeongju National Park in Gyeongju, South Korea, a legendary, man-made pond lends its scenic beauty to the park lands. Named Anapji (안압지), which means a lake for geese and ducks, the pond was constructed in 674 CE during the Silla Dynasty as a garden for the royal family. Ancient writings say that the pond and its surroundings housed many rare and exotic plants, flowers and animals for the Silla rulers to enjoy. Several pavilions and mountain-like landscapes were placed around the pond in addition to the artificial islands built inside it. When the Silla Dynasty collapsed in 935 CE, Anapji fell to ruins. In 1974—over a millennium later—restoration of the pond began and in just over a decade it was restored to its original state. Thousands of ancient artifacts have been excavated from the bottom of the pond and many are now displayed in a nearby museum.

Now, Anapji is appreciated not only for its historical value, but once again for its gorgeous garden. Local and visiting Instagrammers have captured the pond’s beauty, often shooting at night to capture the glowing reflections of the pavillions in the pond’s waters.

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current event, seollal, Lunar New Year, south korea,

Celebrating the Lunar New Year in South Korea

To see more photos and videos of Seollal traditions, browse the #설날 (Seollal), #떡국 (teokguk), #세배 (sebae) and #세뱃돈 (sebae-don) hashtags.

This week, many East Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, which marks the first day of the lunar calendar. In most years, the holiday falls on the day of the second new moon after winter solstice, which this year is January 31. Many know this holiday as “Chinese New Year” with its dragon dancers, red packets and lanterns, but the holiday also has strong importance and rich traditions in South Korea as well.

In South Korea, the holiday is called Seollal (설날) and is celebrated over a course of three days. The event is one of the most important celebrations of the year for many families who often come together and pay respect to their ancestors. Many Instagrammers in South Korea are sharing the festivities taking place this week.

Traditionally, Seollal celebrations include wearing a formal dress called a hanbok (한복) and performing an act of sebae (세배)—a ceremonial deep bow to the spirits of deceased ancestors or to the eldest members of the household. Many children look forward to this day as they receive a gift of money called sebae don (세뱃돈) after the bowing, which comes enclosed in colorful envelopes. Festive meals are also a big part of Seollal, consisting of a dish called tteokguk (떡국)—a soup with thinly sliced rice cakes and dumplings. The rice cake is a symbol of new beginnings, and eating the rice cake signifies growing a year older with the new year.

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Location Feature, hallasan, south korea,

Winter Hiking on Hallasan (한라산), South Korea’s Tallest Peak

To see more photos and videos of Hallasan and its crater on the peak, explore the 한라산 (漢拏山, Hallasan) and 백록담 / Baengnokdam / 白鹿潭 location pages.

Located in the center of Jeju Island, Hallasan (한라산) is South Korea’s highest peak, reaching 1,950 meters (6,398 feet) above sea level. Flowing lava shaped the mountain when a volcanic eruption first created the island.

For many hikers, winter is considered the best season to explore Hallasan. The trails are usually covered with a thick layer of snow making the journey especially beautiful. Hikers gear up with strapped-on spiked boots and trekking poles to enjoy the hike through the snow covered landscape.

In total, Hallasan has five hiking trails. Donnaeko (돈내코) is the only open trail that starts from the southern half of the island, which leads to a point near the peak called Witse Oreum (윗세오름). Eorimok (어리목) and Yeongsil (영실) are shorter trails that also terminate at Witse Oreum. Gwaneumsa (관음사) and Seongpanak (성판악) take much longer to hike, but lead to Baengnokdam (백록담), a magnificent volcanic crater lake at the peak of the mountain.

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Location Feature, Seoraksan National Park, South Korea,

The Granite Peaks of South Korea’s Seoraksan National Park

Tucked in the northeastern corner of South Korea sits the lush and majestic Seoraksan National Park.

The park, established in 1970 and currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage status, is home to more than 1,000 plant and 1,500 animal species making it a destination for nature lovers from around the globe.

Another draw is the area’s dramatic—and photogenic—granite cliffs, some of which climb as high as 5,600 ft (1,700m) above sea level.

Explore Seoraksan and its rich geographical and ecological diversity through Instagram by visiting the 설악산국립공원 (Seoraksan National Park) location page.

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Location Feature, Boseong Tea Fields, South Korea, 대한다원 보성녹차밭,

The Lush Rolling Tea Fields of Boseong, South Korea

In the Honam region of South Korea, towards the country’s southern tip, sits Boseong, an area famous throughout the world for its green tea leaves.

The region—home to tea cultivation for over 500 years—has become a popular destination for Instagrammers because of the photogenic tea plants that cover its hillsides.

See more photos and videos of these vibrant tea plants by visiting the Boseong Dawon Green Tea Field (대한다원 보성녹차밭) location page.

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photo feature, boryeong, current events, south korea,

South Korea’s Boryeong Mud Festival

Want to see more mudtastic photos? Check out the #boryeong hashtag.

It’s July, which means, if you live in Boryeong, South Korea, it’s time to get dirty. Every year, Boryeong is host to the Boryeong Mud Festival, which has drawn thousands each year since its creation in 1998 as a way to market the health and cosmetic benefits of the region’s mud.

The festival continues through 24 July. Those interested in attending—either this year or in the future—may want to review our tips for keeping your mobile device dry while splashing around!

Spotlight: South Korea

spotlight, south korea, republic of korea, User Feature,

Since launching, we’ve seen Instagram spread from our headquarters in the Bay Area to every corner of the globe. In this series we’ll highlight top users from countries and cities with thriving Instagram communities.

Since 1953, the Republic of Korea - not to be confused with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea - has been territorially defined as the land below below the 38th parallel on the Korean Peninsula. 

The mountainous nation of 50 million boasts Asia’s fourth largest economy, one of the world’s leading educational systems and oodles of faithful Instagram photographers. To get a peek into daily life in South Korea, here are four Instagrammers sharing stunning shots straight from the streets:

@kimpro

 

@torero

 

@optimismm

 

@selfproducer

 

The photo at the top of this post is by @dianafakhoury.