The new and improved Gwanghwamun Square emphasizes its role as a park. By creating different types of rest areas that include waterscape amenities, featuring a nice blend of forests and water with places to sit and relax, Gwanghwamun Square enables visitors to enjoy nature in the city. All the while, interesting historical elements are placed throughout the area to ensure that visitors are reminded of the significance of Gwanghwamun Square.
Stretching from Yukjo Madang (lit. yard of six ministries) in front of the Central Government Complex, or Government Complex Seoul, to Hangeul Fountain, the “History Waterway” cuts through the entire Gwanghwamun Square. Korea’s history – from the foundation of Joseon to the present day – is inscribed on the 630 stone tablets along the waterway. As you walk along the waterway, you can look into not only the running waters but also the history of Korea. There are spots for children to splish-splash, including the Tunnel Fountain in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, Hangeul Fountain,” and “Ground Well,” based on King Sejong’s minbonism (a people-oriented spirit) and the idea of cheon (heaven), ji (earth), and in (humans), which are the foundational principles of inventing the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, sometimes spelt Hangul. Evergreen pine trees that have long been beloved by Koreans welcome visitors at the entrance of Gwanghwamun Square, while the “Garden of Time” attracts visitors by reproducing the traditional Korean-style gardens.
Extending along the Jang Daeseok flower bed, the “Four Seasons Garden” has plants that present the four seasons of Korea, adding greater expectations to the different seasonal looks of the gardens. Unique rest areas are also available to visitors, including the “Culture Shelter” in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, and the “Table for All,” open to anyone who wants to rest. Come and enjoy a special time at the renovated Gwanghwamun Square. You can now enjoy history amidst nature, a green forest in the middle of the city, and relax and have fun all at once. Check it out right away.
Exhibition Hall for Excavated Cultural Assets: Learning the Significance and Value of Gwanghwamun Street
With Bukhansan Moutain in the background, the roads of Gwanghwamun stretch into Baegaksan Mountain, the former name of Bugaksan Mountain, and Gyeongbokgung Palace. During the Joseon Dynasty, this area was packed with major government offices. As Joseon's political and administrative hub, the roads in front of Gwanghwamun Gate were called the Yukjo Geori (lit. street of six ministries).
Cultural assets and government office sites that have been buried under the roads and buildings at Yukjo Geori have been discovered in the course of the construction to renovate Gwanghwamun Square. Its revelation seemed as if claiming the value and significance of the location.
To inform the value and significance of Gwanghwamun Square to its visitors, the renovation team decided to create an exhibition hall to display parts of the historical relics excavated at the Saheonbu (Office of the Inspector-General during the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties) site.
The items on display include door traces, fences, wells, and drainages. The exhibition hall highlights the curved lines of the cheoma (eves) in traditional Korean houses. The thickness and height of the exhibition hall columns are similar to that of the surrounding trees, enabling visitors to enjoy the scenery of Gwanghwamun Gate through the columns.
Gwanghwamun Square is a place you'll want to visit where exciting historical tales of the past unfold and come to life, leaving an impact. They await your arrival!
Adding More to Enjoy with Historical & Cultural Anecdotes
Seoul is a city with long-standing cultural heritages and rich stories. The renovated Gwanghwamun Square offers various content, where a sense of storytelling has been added to Seoul’s history and culture. First, meet the media glass at the entrance of the Story of King Sejong.
The media glass is a cube-shaped glass structure that presents a sense of openness during the day while boasting an attraction at night. Enjoyable content is available to visitors, including the achievements of King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun-sin, hallyu content, and artworks by rookie artists. Visitors can enjoy the content at the media glass daily from sunset to 10 pm. Also, check out the Story of Chungmugong, an exhibition hall for Admiral Yi Sun-sin, connected to this media glass.
In front of the bronze statue of Admiral Yi Sun-sin is the Myeongnyang Fountain, symbolizing the Battle of Myeongnyang commanded by Admiral Yi. His achievement in the battle is widely known as it has been made into a movie in Korea. Visitors can enjoy a stunning nightscape with beautiful lights added to the fountain at night. A massive media wall has been installed at Gwanghwamun Square to enable visitors to enjoy different media art. The first media art presented with the reopening of Gwanghwamun Square is “Gwanghwa Sketchbook,” with the themes cheon (heaven), ji (earth), and in (humans) – the fundamentals of Hangeul. Every day, from 8 am to 10 pm, visitors can enjoy the artworks of the past, present, and future of Gwanghwamun Gate, the people, nature, and forests of Seoul. The artworks are presented on the massive display stretching from Yukjo Street to the renovated Gwanghwamun Square.
What’s unique about the media art at Gwanghwamun Square is that the artworks are interactive. Taking a step further from simply appreciating the artwork, visitors can use their smartphones to send drawings or photos to the artwork displayed on the media wall. Go beyond seeing the culture and history with your eyes; engrave your stories to Gwanghwamun Square through active participation. Listening to and seeing the stories of us all, and everyone creating their own stories, is what Gwanghwamun Square is all about.