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A Tour of Seoul's Streetside Architecture (7): Jeongdong-gil

Published Date : Dec 23, 2021 / Edited Date : Oct 18, 2022
멋길따라 서울건축여행 / VISIT SEOUL X archibear

Time Travel to Seoul of 100 Years Ago via Stonewall Walkway

When you look across the street from the large grass plaza in front of Seoul City Hall, you can see a stonewall walkway along some sidewalk trees. At the end of the walkway, there is Daehanmun Gate, the main gate of Deoksugung Palace. Inside the street to the left of Daehanmun Gate, you can find beautiful autumn foliage. The street is called “Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway” and it is linked to Jeongdong-gil, another famous walking path in downtown Seoul.

The surrounding area started to be called “Jeong-dong” after “Jeongneung,” the tomb of Queen Sindeok, the second wife of Yi Seong-gye, founder of Joseon. Here King Gojong dreamed of the beginning of the Korean Empire at the end of Joseon dynasty. It is also the first region in Korea where new civilizations arrived as consulates of Western countries began to be established. Keeping the history of the late Joseon dynasty and the painful memories of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Jeong-dong is a large museum in of itself that has the records of the modern history of Seoul.

Jeong-dong has a romantic and relaxing walkway that reminds visitors of Korean history. Let’s enjoy the autumn landscape of Jeong-dong while looking back on the past of a hundred years ago at the center of a rapidly changing Seoul.

A Pleasant Stonewall Walkway


There is a saying that couples that walk together along Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway will end up breaking up. This spread because of Gyeongseong Family Court which was located on the left side of the walkway, currently the site of the Seoul City Hall Annex. In the past, married couples walked down the stonewall walkway together to visit the family court and parted at the Jeong-dong Samgeori (Three-way Intersection) going their separate ways. However, today, many couples visit Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway on their date. One side of the meandering walk is covered by the beautiful traditional stonewall and the other side of it shows a series of modern constructions and gardens, allowing visitors to enjoy the changing landscapes.

Another factor that makes this walkway pedestrian-friendly is the city’s urban architectural measure. It is designated as a one-way road to reduce traffic and the winding road reduces the speed of vehicles. The heights of the roadway and walkway are the same, which makes people feel the walkway as wide. The walkway is also considered as a park with art benches and ceramic tiles, which were established as part of a public art project.
  • Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway
  • 99, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul, Deoksugung Daehanmun
  • #Deoksugung_Stonewall_Walkway #Date_Course

A Modern Art Museum with a Renaissance Façade


The classic and imposing building of the Seoul Museum of Art shows the harmony of a Renaissance-style front and a modern rear. In fact, this place has been the site of several historic buildings. It was the site of Yugyeong Gongwon, Korea’s first modern educational institution, and Pyeongniwon, Korea’s first modern court. During the Japanese occupation, Gyeongseong Court, designed by Jozaburo Iwai and Keiichi Sasha, was used as the Supreme Court there. Then, the building was reborn as the present Seoul Museum of Art by preserving the appearance of the front and changing the inside.
The preserved portico* of the front of the building and the main building show contrast of two different materials. While the dark brick set like a folding screen creates a background, the bright granite portico in front stands out. The delicate sculptures that form the arches of the entrance and windows show at a glance that they are the European architectural style left in Korea.
* Portico: A colonnade installed in the front or entrance part of a building.
As you enter the building, you will find a bright three-story hall. This hall mediates between the façade* of the preserved building from the 1900s and the interior space of the museum opened in the 2000s. The light shining from the ceiling seems to connect the past and the present. Climbing the wooden stairs from the second to the third floor, you can feel the contrast between the arched windows and modern ceiling.
* Façade: The face of a building, especially the principal front that looks onto a street or open space.
  • Seoul Museum of Art
  • 61, Deoksugung-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • #Seoul_Museum_of_Art #Seosomun #Renaissance_Style

Korea’s First Western-style School Building in Original Shape From 1910


When you come out from between the administration building of the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Registration Office, you will see a red brick building that looks like a Renaissance-style mansion on a low hill. You can see its back and if you go up the hill next to it, you will reach the front of the building with a large lawn. This building was used as the east pavilion of Paichai Hakdang, the first Western-style school in Korea, initiated in 1885 by Appenzeller, a Methodist missionary from the United States. Built in 1916, it remains as the Appenzeller/Noble Memorial Museum, showing the modern architectural style of the time. The three dormers and the pediment* on the door are impressive.
* Pediment: A triangular ornament used on a roof or door as a distinctive feature of Western classical architecture.
Unlike another school building of the same style, which was built with granite as the main material in the shape of a medieval fortress, this building resembles a typical house built with bricks. It is a two-story building, but the attic and semi-basement makes it have four-story vertical composition. The building is not wide, and it shows a balanced proportion, geometrically structured, symmetrical from the central entrance. If you take a closer look at the window, you can see that the square is divided once more into rectangles to enhance the sense of proportion.
  • Appenzeller/Noble Memorial Museum
  • 19, Seosomun-ro 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • #Appenzeller/Noble_Memorial_Museum #Appenzeller/Noble_Memorial_Museum_Central_Building #Appenzeller

Brick Walled Art Center Leading to a Stone Wall


When you reach Jeongdong-gil, you will see a red brick wall that is naturally linked to a stone wall. Under the brick wall that is slightly floating with a colonnade, you may have the curiosity about the interior space. Then, you will find four large pillars that are holding a lintel* inscribed with “Jeongdong Theater” in powerful strokes. Jeongdong Theater is a space that inherits the spirit of modern and contemporary art, continuously develops new performances, and provides high-quality stage performances. It was opened in 1995 to restore “Wongaksa,” the first modern theater of Korea.
* Lintel: A horizontal support across the top of a door or window.
The theater is in the basement and on the first floor, there is a large outdoor yard. The red bricks on the floor are linked to the wall surrounding the building. Just like the courtyard of Deoksugung Palace surrounded by stone walls and trees, the outdoor yard of Jeongdong Theater is surrounded by brick walls and trees, making you feel as if you are in a small garden inside a hanok. On the large front wall, there is “Myth, Play, and Vision of the Planets,” a three-dimensional artwork of Jeon Soo-cheon. A statue of the pansori master Lee Dong-baek of 19th century is stands facing the yard, showing the unique colors of Jeongdong Theater as an art center.
  • Jeongdong Theater
  • 43, Jeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • #Jeongdong_Theater #Brick_Wall #Art_Garden

A Road Engraved with Unforgettable Painful Wounds

#Jeong-dong_Park #Gojonguigil

Walking along Jeongdong-gil, where the stone walls, historic modern buildings made of red bricks, cafes and shops are standing in harmony, and climbing the hill on the right of the Canadian Embassy in Korea, you will find Jeong-dong Park with the traces of the old Russian legation. The area of Jeong-dong Park was once the site of the Russian legation. The building of the Russian legation was destroyed during the Korean War, and now there remains only a white three-story stone tower. This place is also engraved with the painful event of Korea, that is, Agwan Pacheon.*
* Agwan Pacheon: King Gojong and the crown prince taking refuge in the Russian legation for a year since 1896, feeling threatened after the Queen Min’s Assassination in 1895. “Agwan” here refers to the Russian legation.
Gojonguigil (“the path taken by Gojong”), which runs from Jeong-dong Park to Deoksugung Stonewall Walkway, is the route of passage taken by King Gojong who escaped from the surveillance of Japanese. In commemoration of the 120th anniversary of Agwan Pacheon in 2016, three-meter-wide stone walls were built along the 110-meter path and it was officially opened to the public in 2018. The tall stone walls on both sides obscure the view and make the path quieter. While 120 meters seem short, how long would it have been to King Gojong who had to move without being noticed by Japanese surveillants? How about taking a walk along the path taken by King Gojong to look back on the painful modern history of Korea? The path will remind us of the preciousness of a historical place that we need to restore and protect.
  • Jeong-dong Park
  • 21-18, Jeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • #Jeong-dong_Park #Gojonguigil #Gojong_Internal_Exile_to_the_Russian_Legation #Old_Russian_Legation

Our architectural walking course is here!
An illustrated map of the 7th episode of A Tour of Seoul's Streetside Architecture. On the right are City Hall Station and Seoul Metropolitan City Hall on Subway Lines 1 and 2, and between Kangbuk Samsung Hospital and Ewha Girls' High School on the left are Jeongdong-gil and other distinctive buildings. Deoksugung Stone Wall Road which was introduced in this article, the Seoul Museum of Art below Deoksugung Palace, and the Appenzeller/Noble Memorial Museum across the street are introduced with cute illustrations. The location of Jeongdong Theater is marked above the old Appenzeller/Noble Memorial Museum building, and the location of Jeongdong Park and Gojong's road, which were introduced at the end, is depicted on the right while walking along Jeongdong-gil toward Gangbuk Samsung Hospital.

Visit Seoul × ArchiBear

Buildings and architecture form a city, and cities come together to form a country. And that’s why architecture reflects the history and culture of a city as a component of the city. Seoul X Archibear’s A Tour of Seoul’s Streetside Architecture was designed to provide a fresh perspective on the city by sharing the anecdotes of architectural culture while traveling around South Korea’s capital.

Well-built and distinctive architecture can serve as a piece of art carved in our city. And in Seoul, which is rich with diverse history and characteristics, there are beautiful buildings that are worth paying a visit. We hope that this special series helps promote Seoul as an ideal travel destination and invite everyone to experience the hidden architectural beauty in Seoul’s everyday life.

A Tour of Seoul’s Streetside Architecture series was produced by Visit Seoul in collaboration with ArchiBear, a brand created by the architectural culture and travel content company, Haas Studio.

Curious to get more information on architectural tourism in Seoul?

#Deoksugung #DeoksugungStonewallRoad #JeongdongTheater #AppenzellerNobleMemorialMuseum #RoadOfEmperorGojong #OldRussianLegation #DateCourse #Jeongdong-gil #JeongdongPark #SeoulArchitectureTour #JeongdongPark #SeoulMuseumOfArt

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  • 解説が行われる際に発生した安全事故について、ソウル徒歩解説観光事務局とソウル文化観光解説士は責任を負いません。
  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも1週間前まで可能です。
  • 本コースは、移動弱者(移動が不自由な高齢者、障害者、ベビーカー利用者など)のためのコースです。
  • 補助人(或いは同行人)を伴わない場合は利用できません。
  • ご希望の日付及びコースに活動可能な解説士がいない場合、予約はキャンセルされることがあります。
  • 予約を確認するため、徒歩観光事務局(02-6925-0777)で確認のための連絡が行われます。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局とソウル文化観光解説士は
  • PM 2.5(ピーエムにてんご)の非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって
  • 观光日基准最少3日前方可进行预约。
  • 最多可以预约3个人。
  • 在已登记的预约团体中,只接待不超过预约人数的团体,可在前一天17时前追加预约。
  • 下个月的预约可从前一月15日开始。
  • 参加徒步观光解说活动时必须佩戴口罩。
  • 如有发热或呼吸道症状(发烧、咳嗽、痰液、肌肉痛、鼻塞、咽喉痛等),请避免参与解说活动。
  • 活动开始前将进行体温测试,超过37.5度者将被限制参与解说活动。
  • 无保护者随同的未满14岁儿童游客,会在现场取消解说活动。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等)无法运营徒步观光解说活动时,所有预约会批量取消。(观光前日基准)
  • 对于解说活动中发生的安全事故,首尔徒步解说旅游事务局和首尔文化观光解说社不予负责。
  • 观光日基准最少1日前方可进行预约。
  • 本线路是为了行动不便者(行动不便的高龄者、残疾人、婴儿车利用者等)的路线。
  • 无辅助人员(或同行人)伴随时,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的辅助人员陪同。
    ※ 电动辅助器具(电动轮椅、电动独轮车等)使用者时,每一位辅助人员最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 为了确认预约,徒步观光事务局(02-6925-0777)会致电进行确认。
    (最少5日~一个月前) 3次以上无法连接时,预约将被取消。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光解说员概不负责。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
  • 最晚請於預約日期3天前完成預約。
  • 最多可以预约3个人。
  • 已完成預約的團體若人數超過限制,可於前一天下午5點前追加預約。
  • 每月15日將開放下個月的預約。
  • 參與解說觀光時請務必佩戴口罩。
  • 若有發燒或呼吸道症狀(發燒、咳嗽、咳痰、肌肉酸痛、鼻塞、喉嚨痛),請避免參與本活動。
  • 活動開始前將進行體溫測量。若體溫超過37.5度,將無法參與本活動。
  • 未有保護者同行的未滿14歲兒童遊客,會在現場取消參與資格。
  • 因發布微塵緊急降低措施及其他天氣惡化(暴熱、台風、豪雨等),無法進行徒步觀光時,所有預約將取消。(預約日期前日基準)
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,首爾徒步解說觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光解說員概不負責。
  • 觀光日基準最少1日前方可進行預約。
  • 本線路是為了行動不便者(行動不便的高齡者、殘疾人、嬰兒車利用者等)的路線。
  • 無輔助人員(或同行人)伴隨時,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的輔助人員陪同。
    ※ 電動輔助器具(電動輪椅、電動獨輪車等)使用者時,每壹位輔助人員最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望觀光的日期及線路上無解說員時,預約有可能被取消。
  • 為了確認預約,徒步觀光事務局(02-6925-0777)會致電進行確認。
    (最少5日~壹個月前) 3次以上無法連接時,預約將被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光 解說員概不負責。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。 (觀光前日基準)