Travel: Visiting Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul, Korea

Now this is what I call a tribute to your ancestors and honouring them – building a huge monument right smack in the city centre. Not only is it near the office buildings, it’s also within walking distance of the shopping districts and right in front of the Gyeongbokgung Palace – double the awesomeness of a tourist attraction, and half the tourist bus travelling time.

Officially opened on 1 August 2009, Gwanghwamun Square is located at Sejongno, which is an area obviously named after King Sejong.

An artist’s rendention of Gwanghwamun Square pre-construction.

A top-down artist’s rendition of Gwanghwamun Square

The historically-important items on display in front of the statue – sundial, water clock and rain gauge.

During the Joseon Dynasty, Sejongno was known as Yukjo Street – meaning Six Ministries – since they were all located there at that time. Yukjo Street was the centre of history, politics and administration that time.

Some facts about Gwanghwamun Square:

  • It took 15 months of construction.
  • It cost US$36 million.
  • It is 34m wide x 557m long

I love how they wrapped the King up and made him look like a really luxurious and expensive gold-covered meat dumpling.

Then-Mayor of Seoul Oh Se Hoon giving his opening speech

The King finally gets a breather of fresh air

King Sejong created Hangeul, the Korean alphabets. These are inscribed onto the side of the monument.

Here are some photos of the King during work-in-progress. He still looks as stately as ever.

The chair upon which the royal posterior will be placed on – engraved with so many beautiful and ornate details!

A view of His Royal Posterior

What he holds in the palm of his hand (beside great power that comes with great responsibility) – a manuscript of the Hangeul that he created. Read more about its creation here.

The plans for the King…

…transformed into reality.

An overview of Gwanghwamun Square. See that tiny black figure standing there? He’s in front of the King, protecting him.

It’s Admiral Yi Sun Sin / Yi Sun Shin – one of the most celebrated, revered, and honoured Korean heroes of all time. He’s really amazing – the dude has never lost a battle and 23 of them were on sea. Woah. Read about his awesomeness repelling the Japanese invasion here.

He’s been there for a long time since 1968, but I guess they decided to pimp his crib. Since he was a naval commander, it makes sense that they created a water fountain around him.

At the official opening – then-Mayor Oh giving a speech

Admiral Yi looks even better at night! I couldn’t decide which colour goes best with his skin tone, so I’m just gonna plonk a few photos in.

Dear King Sejong, I hereby pledge to study harder at Korean and master the Hangeul / Korean language which you so lovingly created for your people. I also pledge to visit Korea more to shop more and support the Korean economy 😀


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