Tapgol Park was the first modern park built in Seoul and the birthplace of the March 1st Movement against the Japanese occupation in 1919. The park is home to several national treasures including Wongaksaji Sipcheungseoktap (a 10-story stone pagoda) as well as statues and monuments dedicated to various patriots and resistance members who fought for Korean independence during the Japanese occupation. It is also the place where the Declaration of Independence from Japan was read at Palgakjeong (an octagonal pavilion).
The park was once home to Heungboksa, a Buddhist temple, during the Goryo Dynasty period (918-1392). The temple underwent several subsequent changes and was later rebuilt under the name Wongaksa only to be destroyed during the Joseon Dynasty when Buddhism was officially repressed. In 1897, during the reign of King Gojong, the King’s financial advisor, John McLeavy Brown, proposed turning the site into a park. This was done and Tagpol Park opened to the public in 1920.