안녕하세요: The War Memorial of Korea

01:18:00

As mentioned in my earlier post where I went to the largest museum in Korea, the National Museum of Korea (see here), I continued my day trip on the "History of Korea" with a visit to the largest memorial in the world, War Memorial of Korea 전쟁기념관. I would think most people will find it boring to visit a war memorial on a holiday, and looking back now, I frankly have no idea why I had chose to spend the rest of day here. Don't get me wrong. This is not to say I regret my decision. In fact, the War Memorial of Korea is one of the best attractions I have been to and one that I would recommend to anyone visiting Seoul. I am just so glad did, I am simply astounded at what great judgement I have. Lols.



Admission is free, and getting to the War Memorial of Korea, which happened to be standing on the grounds of the Korean Infantry Headquarters not so long ago, is easy since the extensive subway system of Seoul has got the attraction, like many others, covered. Just take Subway Line 4 or Line 6 to Samgakji Station and head for Exit #12. Follow the pedestrian pathway along the main road until you see this, The Statue of Brothers:



Apparently, this statue depicts a true story of two brothers who coincidentally reunited on the battlefield when they unfortunately, were fighting against each other in the Korean War, and symbolises the Koreans' wish for national peace, reconciliation and reunification. The Clock Tower of Peace also signifies the same wish, this time by two girls who each holds a clock - one with the current time and the other stopped at the time the Korean War began. Heartbreaking, isn't it?



I was afraid it may get dark very soon (since it was winter when I visited), so I started off with the outdoor exhibition, where the air crafts, tanks, submarines and other artillery used in World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War are displayed. The fleet was rather impressive despite their age, and one thing exciting about the exhibition is that visitors are allowed to enter some of these vehicles.

Although this warning might have came a tad too late, this post is going to be super photo-intensive if you hadn't already noticed. I swear I have tried to cut the numbers down as much as I could, but some pictures were too momentous not to share.



To think that I haven't even got into the main building..



The Monument of KIA, engraved with the names of Republic of Korea Armed Forces, Police Officers and UN Forces who died in the wars after the Republic of Korea was founded. And also one of the rare occasions I managed to shoot a slightly more decent photo. This route links you to the main entrance of the building on the second floor, from where the outdoor exhibition is.

1F The War History Rooms



The main lead of this floor will be the turtle-shaped battleship, Geobukseon, a warship designed by Admiral Yi Sunshin during the Imjin Waeran, which played a pivotal role in leading the Royal Korean Navy to defeat the Japanese and win numerous navel battles. More on that in my later post where I visited the Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin exhibition at Gwanghwamun.

There was a painting I saw on this floor as well, of a soldier who was shot and was trying to bandage his injured arm up. It was rather troubling, and pretty amazing at the same time how it can show fear, courage, pain, death and so many other things in just one flat image. And I stood in front of it for the longest time while other visitors just past me by, some without even giving it a glance. It took great efforts to tear my eyes from it eventually, and I didn't think I should take a picture since I didn't want to think too much of it. Not surprisingly, the image is still stuck in my mind till now.

2F Large & Defense Industries Equipment Room



The second floor is also where the Memorial Hall, as well as the Korean War Room I - Invasion by the North and Korean War Room II - Marching North/the Armistice is. The information is translated and very comprehensive, so any visitor will be able to understand the entire background, how the war progressed and how truce was established even if one is unable to understand a single word of Korean.

3F The Korean War Room III - UN Participation



There were a few video cubicles on this floor where you can select your language preference for the video and watch it comfortably. I randomly selected this one 잊혀진 전쟁 ("The Forgotten War"), and it was so sad to hear the different stories, I cried in the cubicle. Seriously, super "heart pain" to hear the stories. There were a few people who wanted to join in halfway, saw me crying, then went to watch another video in another cubicle instead lolol.



There were also a number of 3D video cinemas, and activities one can participate in, such as shooting in the Combat Experience Room. So do look out for it if you are interested, and if you are not, just remind yourself not to be alarmed when you enter the building and start hearing loud machine gun gunshots which will probably last throughout your entire visit at the War Memorial of Korea, almost non-stop and regardless of which floor you are on. Well, it happened in my instance and to be truthful, I wish the war memorial was a bit more peaceful in terms of the noise level.

All in all, I really enjoyed my stay here, and upon leaving for my next stop, the Blind Alley Cafe (coming up soon!), I immediately shared with Pympon, Lisa and Jingwen how they should really visit this place when they have the time. One is confirmed to have a great time even if he or she is not a history buff. Though some parts on the other hand,

Can be really emotional,
Yvette

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