Seoul City will develop Sejong-ro and its surrounding area into a “cultural tourism hub” featuring Hangeul in a bid to promote the Korean alphabet as a global cultural product.
Seoul City said that it plans to build “Hangeul Maruzi” (landmark) on the 470,000 square meters of land that will cover Tongui-dong, Tongin-dong, Naesu-dong and Sejongno-dong near Sejong-ro. This is a politically, culturally and historically important area of the nation.
Maruzi is a recently coined Korean word (officially recognized in 2009) meaning landmark in English. The areas surrounding Sejong-ro are the ideal place for such a cultural tourism hub as many Hangeul-related legacies are located here, such as the birth place of King Sejong, the house of Korean linguist Ju Si-kyung and the headquarters of the Korean Language Society.
In the Hangeul Maruzi, Seoul City plans to offer diverse Hangeul-related facilities and cultural products, such as a park and streets, guest rooms, Hangeul classes and brush-writing events. In addition, other cultural content will be supported and Hangeul-related international conferences are planned.
Before its construction heads in to full-swing, Seoul City will first build the “Hangeul 11,172 Garden” on 8,868 square meters of land in Sejongno Park, near the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, by the first half of this year. The 11,172 refers to the total number of letters that can be made by using the 24 consonants and vowels of Hangeul. These letters will be carved by 11,172 people on individual stones, which will then be laid on the garden’s floor.
By the end of July, Seoul City will develop and provide a one-hour Hangeul-reading program through which people can learn to read Korean. It also plans to expand its existing programs located in Gwanghwamun in which foreigners can have their family mottos and Korean names written in brush. The city will frame the brush-written names at cheap prices.