안녕하세요: Gwanghwamun

22:21:00



Gwanghwamun Gate 광화문 is the main gate of Gyeongbukgung 경복궁 constructed solely out of granite in 1395 by the first king of the Joseon Dynasty and is considered the most beautiful out of the five palace gates in Seoul. It was however, unfortunately destroyed by the Japanese during their occupation and replaced with their own administration building on the same site on purpose, so as to destroy the fighting spirits of the Koreans. The present gate we see now was rebuilt in 1968 using concrete, and is about 10 metres behind its original spot because of the same Japanese building.


Love how proud Koreans are of their own language

So, from where I was previously, Cheongwadae, I walked down to Gyeongbokgung and ended up in Gwanghwamun Square 광화문광장, the area in front the gate and Cheonggye Square 청계광장. It is also where the Statue of King Sejong the Great and the Statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin are located above ground, while the exhibition halls of The Story of King Sejong and The Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin are situated underground.

In case you are unfamiliar with the history of Korea, King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sunshin are the two greatest people Koreans love best and respect most. King Sejong, who led the nation's great strides in agriculture, literature, science and technology through the invention of a celestial globe, rain gauge, sundial and many more, is also the inventor of their language, Hangeul. Admiral Yi Sunshin, on the other hand, was a well-respected Korean naval commander famed for his glorious Battle of Myeongnyang against the Japanese navy during the Imjin war in the Joseon Dynasty.



The Story of King Sejong and The Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin are two permanent exhibitions put up by the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts to allow visitors to experience the lives and achievements of the two most prominent figures in Korea's entire history. You can access both exhibition halls underground from the entrance behind the statue of King Sejong.


Multi-launch rocket created during King Sejong's reign

The Story of King Sejong mainly introduces one to King Sejong's background, personality, scientific and artistic achievements as well as his love for his people. For instance, despite opposition from courtiers, King Sejong promulgated the 28-letter Korean alphabet so that all his people could read and write. He also adjusted tax for farmers according to economic fluctuations, and would distribute food to poor peasants or farmers who need it. Not only did King Sejong invented the sundial and astronomical chart, he also created various traditional Korean music instruments so Koreans can have their own form of music. There is also a section in the exhibition hall which allows visitors to write their names in Hangeul with ink and brush!

"Because people form a country's foundation, a country finds peace only when it has a sturdy foundation."
July 3, 1423



I personally prefer The Story of Admiral Yi Sunshin for the war stories which showcased Admiral Yi Sunshin's quick-wittedness and bravery. The exhibition also showcases Admiral Yi's war diary, Nanjungilgi, the certificate he received upon passing the military examination, weapons and artefacts as well as the Panokseon, Korea's flagship. There is also a huge display of the Turtle Ship, the world's best assault ship at that time, which one can enter and look at how things work from the inside. Admiral Yi was the commander who fought many glorious wars and protected his country during the Imjin War right till his last breath. How courageous and patriotic is that?

"We are at the height of battle. Don't let anybody know about my death."
Admiral Yi's final words prior to his death at the Battle of Noryang



After my lessons on Korean history, I took the underground passage connecting the various exits of the Gwanghwamun subway station and winded up at the largest bookstore chain in Korea, Kyobo Bookstore. Actually, the sheer number of books in there makes it feel more like a library than a bookstore. There are even proper tables and chairs for people to sit down and read the books in comfort! They also stamp their names in blue ink on the books just like how libraries do, and unfortunately that turned me off. I was about to purchase a few books when I noticed that and then decided to place all the books back onto their respective shelves. I know it is kind of a lame reason but really, I prefer my books to be clean. If I were to buy a book, it belongs to me. So what gives Kyobo the right to stamp its name on MY book and why would I want their name on MY book?

By the way, on my way out of the bookstore back home, I met another Korean who was doing an environment survey asking whether you think all the air pollution in Korea comes from their neighbour China, and we talked a bit. After learning where I am from, he also started complimenting Marina Bay Sands and how clean Singapore is. Funny how "clean" is the only word all Koreans I met used to describe Singapore. Especially when I realised what "clean" really means when I was in Japan.

Songdo Central Park coming up next,
Yvette

You Might Also Like

0 comments

@yveyanxi

Latest Video @yveyanxi

Ads & Sponsors