Korea has undergone rapid changes since its once closed society was exposed to western culture about a century ago. Western culture has since influenced the traditions developed by the Korean people since the nation was established on the Korean peninsula some 4,300 years ago. Today long beards, white costumes and horsehair hats are rare sights, even among elderly people. In Seoul and other major cities around the country, vast majority wear western suits, shoes and haircuts, and live in western styled houses. Traditional manners and styles are also on the rapid decline. However, many Koreans have made continuous efforts to prevent those priceless, intangible assets from becoming extinct.