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  • Gwanghwamun Square marks one-year anniversary

  • Integrated News SMG 3972

    During the first year, about 14 million people visited the square, 37,000 a day on average

    August 1, 2010 marked the first anniversary of Gwanghwamun Square, which has become one of the most representative tourist attractions of Seoul. During the Joseon Dynasty period, Gwanghwamun had government offices on both sides of the road to the south. The street was called “Jujak Street,” the street of a mythical bird which guards the south, or “Yukjo Street,” the street of six ministries. To resurrect the site’s spirit and beauty, Gwanghwamun Square was reborn as a place for citizens to relax. The refurbishment of the square also enabled people to enjoy a clear view of Gyeongbokgung and Bugaksan, transforming the street into a human-centered space. Over the past year, the square has attracted more than 14 million people, 37,000 a day on average, solidifying its position as the most representative landmark of Seoul.

    Operating experience programs to introduce the history and tradition of Korea

    During the inaugural year, the square was full of commemorative events such as Tour de Seoul, a cycling competition, and Seoul Snow Jam, an international snowboarding event. However, the metropolitan government changed the policy of the square to ‘emptiness’ this year, focusing more on small scale experience programs such as trying on Gonryongpo (royal robes) and calligraphers handwriting family mottos for citizens. Through these programs, Gwanghwamun Square is becoming a plaza of relaxation.

    Programs Schedule Content
    Trying on Gonryongpo year-round
    • Trying on royal robes, and taking pictures in front of the statue of King Sejong
    Traditional Storytelling of the Joseon Dynasty March~December
    • A tour guided by a professional storyteller who provides a commentary on the features
    • Trying on Korean traditional outfits
    Handwriting Family Mottos every Saturday
    • Calligraphers handwrite family mottos for citizens
    • An exhibition of professional calligraphers’ works and citizen an experience program
    • Demonstration of the creation of huge calligraphies
    Drawing Portraits of Citizens every Saturday & Sunday
    • Drawing portraits of citizens
    The Changing of the Guards Ceremony year-round
    • The changing of the guards ceremony
    • The traditional parade of the royal horse guard
    Multimedia Messaging Service year-round
    • Displaying messages sent by citizens (text messages, photos, videos) on Haechi Board

    Utilizing underground space and nearby buildings to expand facilities for convenience and relaxation

    Seoul city also opened two exhibition halls ‘The Story of King Sejong’ and ‘The Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin,’ utilizing the underground space of Gwanghwamun Square to introduce the astounding achievements of the sage King and the great admiral of the Joseon Dynasty.

    • The Story of King Sejong – Exhibition Hall Information
      The Chronology of King Sejong / Minbon Thought (a notion that the people are the foundation of the state) / The Great Sage King Sejong / Our Music / Science and Art / The Hangul Gallery / The Hangul Library
    • The Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin – Exhibition Hall Information
      The Chronology of Admiral Yi Sunshin / Vessels of the Joseon Dynasty / Seven Years of Naval Battles / Admiral Yi in Nanjung Ilgi (The War Diary of Yi Sunshin) / The Leadership of Yi Sunshin / The 4D Experience Hall

    In the northern part of the square, there is a grass plaza which enables people to take a rest, and it is attracting a good number of visitors. The ‘Fountain 12.23’ in the southern part is very popular with children. During the day, children dabble in the water spewing from the fountain, and LED lights illuminating the fountain catch the eyes of visitors at night. Lower floors of some nearby buildings are open to the public, offering people some place to sit down over coffee and catch their breath. Needless to say, the square is increasingly becoming more pedestrian-friendly.