This small free musuem in Olympic park focuses on artifacts from the pre-joseon, 3 kingdoms period. The museum gives context to the tombs within the park and explains the history of the 3 kingdoms period.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Seoul Nail Cutter cum Bottle Openers
althoug my favorite souvenir items around my travels are the usual fridge magnets and shot glasses, I usually get some odd and interesting souvenir items as well and one of the odd but amusing item that I bought in kitchy Insadong Area of Seoul is a Korean Nail Cutter that doubles as a Bottle Opener (such ingenuity!) and you can buy them as the many souvenir shops around and they cost 3,500 to 4,000 won per piece if you haggle from the sellers and up to 6,000 won if you do not.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
March 1 Independence Movement Monument, Namsan
At the base of Namsan, between the Korean National Theater and Dongguk University, stands a large monument that is rarely documented on the internet from what I can find. According to the signs at the entrance, this is a March 1st 1919 Independence Movement Monument, one of many in Korea.
The March 1st Movement (or Sam-Il Movement, meaning 3-1) was one of the first major public demonstrations against the Japanese occupation of Korea. The protests were partly inspired by Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points speech given at the end of World War I and by the death of King Gojong, with poison suspected as the cause. On the afternoon of 1 March, activists gathered in Seoul and read a Declaration of Independence, then they were arrested. Later, at Tapgol Park, the declaration was read in public by a student named Chung Jae-yong.
Across the country, other demonstrations followed. It is estimated that two million Koreans protested at more then 1,500 locations. The Japanese called in military forces and killed an estimated 7,509 people, injured another 15,849, and arrested 46,303 more. Many of those imprisoned were taken to Seodaemun Prison in Seoul, where some were tortured and killed.
This monument is located at the upper end of Jangchungdan Park.
The Korean Declaration of Independence reads:
"We here with proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. This we proclaim to all the nations of the world in witness of human equality. This we proclaim to our descendents so that they may enjoy in perpetuity their inherent right to nationhood.
In as much as this proclamation originates from our five-thousand-year history, in as much as it springs from the loyalty of twenty million people, in as much as it affirms our yearning for the advancement of everlasting liberty, in as much as it expresses our desire to take part in the global reform rooted in human conscience, it is the solemn will of heaven, the great tide of our age, and a just act necessary for the co-existence of all humankind. Therefore, no power in this world can obstruct or suppress it!"Add to your Trip Planner
Dongsibjagak & Seosibjagak Watchtowers
The Dongsibjagak Watchtower stands at The Southeastern Corner of Gyeongbokgung Palace. When the great palace was constructed, watchtowers we constructed at the two southern corners to defend the approaches along the city streets. During the Japanese occupation, some of the original palace walls were removed to make room for wider streets, including the walls extending to Dongsibjagak. Today this watchtower stands alone in the middle of a busy intersection.
Today the watchtower marks the corner of Gyeongbokgung, the entrance to the traditional Bukchon neighborhood, and the road to the National Folk Museum.
The matching southwestern watchtower, called Seosibjagak, was demolished by the Japanese in 1923. A small plaque marks the spot where this tower once stood. It reads:
Site of Seosipjagek Watchtower
The Seosipjagek was a watchtower located west of Gyeongbokgung Palace for observing the palace and its vicinity.Add to your Trip Planner
Seoul Kyodong Elementary School
Seoul Kyodong Elementary School was established in 1894 as the first elementary school in the country. The school was established under the reign of King Gojong (Kojong) who ruled during a major transition of Korea including isolationism, strong Western influence, full independence, proclamation of the establishment of the Korean Empire, and Japanese annexation and occupation. Gojong himself never received an education, so it is telling that he established a school initially intended for royal children.
To get there via subway, take Line 1 to Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station Exit 5 or Line 3 to Anguk Station Exit 4, and walk past Unhyeongung (Palace).
A sign at the site reads:
Seoul Kyodong Elementary School
As the first institution of primary
education in Korea, the school started
its function in order to educate the
descendant of the royal family in the
31st year of the reign of King Kojong
(September 18, 1894).
The famous historic box tree tells of
this distinguished school.
Approximately over 30,000 children
have been graduated from the school
October 18, 1988
In the inaugural meeting-day of the Kyodong Graduates
association in order to prepare for one century
Schoolmaster of Seoul Kyodong Elementary SchoolAdd to your Trip Planner
Plinths of Yeongeunmun (Gate)
Near the entrance to Seodaemun Independence Park in Seoul, stand two old towers that appear to be ruins. These are all that remains from the former gate called Yeongeunmun (영은문).
Yeongeunmun gate was constructed just outside of the West Gate of the Seoul city walls. Unlike the defensive gates of the city, this gate was decorative and ceremonial. The gate was built around 1537, in front of a building called the Mohwagwan, a building where the Korean king met official emissaries of China when they visited Korea.
The wooden upper portion of the gate was disassembled in 1896 after the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) recognized Korea's independence from China. Today, only the two stone pillars remain, and they have been relocated to Seodaemun Independence Park. Of note, the Mohwagwan has been recreated nearby in the park as well.Add to your Trip Planner
Jeong-dong Street Historical Area
Jeong-dong Street was the first international neighborhood in Seoul, and it was known among Westerners as Legation Street. Located behind the royal residence of the late 1800s, this area was home to the embassies of the United States, Russia, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, as some of the first countries to establish diplomatic ties with Korea (others, including China and Japan also had embassies in Korea, but their were in a different area of the city). By the late 1880s, the foreign legations in this neighborhood were holding tennis tournaments and dinner parties, while missionaries established churches and schools.
Today this street still maintains its historic charm. Six embassies still maintain compounds in this small neighborhood, including three of the original nations--the U.S., Russia, and the United Kingdom. Historic structures in this area include Chung Dong First Methodist Church (Korea’s first chapel), the Seoul Museum of Art, the Appenzeller/Noble Museum (originally the Pai Chai School), the Sontag Hotel (Korea's first Western-style hotel), Central Hall of the Salvation Army, and Jungmyeongjeon Hall.Add to your Trip Planner
Russian Legation Site
The Russian Legation was constructed in Seoul in 1890, and it played a key part in Korean history over the coming years. It was taken over by the Soviet Union after World War II, but was almost completely destroyed during the Korean War in the early 1950s. Only the tower and basement survived the war, along with a hidden tunnel to the Deoksugung Palace, home of King Gojong. The building was restored in 1973, and it stands above a nice park at the back of Deoksugung.
By 1895, Japan had begun to wield considerable influence over Korea following Japan's victory over neighboring China in the First Sino-Japanese War that had recently ended earlier that same year. Queen Min (also called Empress Myeongseong) recognized the threat and sought to establish closer ties with Russia to check Japan's ambitions over Korea. In October 1895, the Japanese responded by assassinating Queen Min at the rear of Gyeongbokgung Palace, burning her remains, and scattering the ashes.
After the Queen’s assassination, King Gojong and the Crown Prince found refuge in the Russian Legation to avoid suffering the same fate as the Queen. For more than a year the King hid with the help of the Russians, before returning the the throne in 1897. The Japanese finally took full control of Korea in 1910, maintaining power until the end of World War II in 1945.
Just down the hill is Jeong-dong Park (정동공원).Add to your Trip Planner
Appenzeller Noble Memorial Museum
The Appenzeller Noble Memorial Museum (배재학당 역사 박물관) is a small attraction behind Deoksugung Palace that is dedicated to the modern history of education in Korea. The museum it self is new, having opened in just 2008, but the building dates back to 1916, and the Pai Chai institute was established in 1885. The museum is named after the Pai Chai institute's founder, Methodist missionary Henry Gerhart Appenzeller, and fellow missionary and teacher William Arthur Noble.Add to your Trip Planner
Jungmyeongjeon Hall was built in a residential area behind Deoksugung, but was included in the palace when it was expanded in 1897. Jungmyeongjeon is now located outside of the palace walls to the rear of the palace complex, after the palace boundaries were again redrawn in the 1920s.
This red brick building of uniquely Western architecture was built in the late 1800s and used as the Imperial library until 1901. Later this became Emperor Gojong's office for meeting foreign dignitaries, and it was the location of the signing of the infamous and tragic Japan-Korea Protectorate Treaty occurred in 1905. In 1925, the interior of the structure was destoryed by fire, but the exterior was saved. Today Jungmyeongjeon houses a small museum and library.
The US Ambassador's house is located adjacent to this structure.Add to your Trip Planner
Hotels near airport
The new international airport is far from Seoul, though you can get to the centre of Seoul easily by public transport. As we arrived late, we stayed in the part of Incheon one stop away from the airport. There are lots of hotels, restaurants, shops here. There was also a pleasant walk over a recreation area where people dried food in the sun. The trees in this area were beginning to turn pleasant autumnal shades.Related to:
- Budget Travel
The Alleys of Itaewon
I think Itaewon is one of the worst places in Seoul. It is overrun by foreigners. It is full of bar girls looking to make a quick dollar any way they can. It is dirty, full of graffiti, and the prices are high.
Nonetheless, I also think Itaewon can offer a few unique sites and "off-the-beaten-path" destinations. I loved the alleys of Itaewon. In the wee hours of the morning, I used the alley to sneak home past the military police that were always out to give everyone a hard time. The alleys also offer better shopping and better food than the main streets. Finally, the alleys provide a quiet, almost secluded spot to snap some unique photos...Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
Pimatgol - Avoid Horse Alley
Pimatgol (피맛골) is a narrow allow in Jogno that runs through Insadong. The name Pimatgol is literally translated as "avoid horse alley" because it was too narrow and confined for horses. This meant the alley was a huge draw for the working class people of ancient Seoul, because here they could avoid constantly bowing to royals and noblemen who rode their horses on the main street.
The alley was created during the Joseon Dynasty, some 600 years ago, and much of this passageway survives today, still lined with small restaurants, bars, and inns.
The historic alley is in danger as sections of it are destroyed occasionally to make room for new skyscrapers in the ever-growing city of Seoul.Add to your Trip Planner
Try the waffles!
I almost forgot to mention about this unexpected experience as we made our way out of Changdeukgong Palace. We were surprised to see crowded people on a small stall of waffles. The stall's just located near the exit of the palace. My friend and I were curious about it so we tried to taste this blockbuster waffles. The waffles were sold for 1,000won. The posters on the stall say "Naan" (a popular indian bread) and a waffle for sale.
There were 2 kinds- heart and circle shaped bread. Actually it's kinda weird because "Naan" is a flat bread but when we bought the 2 kinds of bread, both just looked like waffles. Well, both tasted good so the bread's history doesn't matter now, haha.
If I can remember it right, the heart shaped was stuffed with something like a strawberry filled (but actually it's sugar filled) while the circle shaped had only a spread of like a whipped cream. Both waffles were very tasty! I bought two just to know its difference. I liked the circle shaped than the heart shaped because it's less sweet. Another thing I find the stall amazing was the vendor, he's a deaf male. I admire him for his courage and perseverance to make a living despite of his condition; seems like he goes with the saying, "If there's a will, there's a way." He doesn't understand English so we just did hand signals.
The weather at that time was very cold and I find the hot waffles very applicable as we walk in our hotel. I used to watch Korean films and I remembered a movie about this waffles stall which was owned by a deaf vendor. I can't say that this was a similar stall from what I've seen in the film. Oh well, who knows... maybe I need to remember the film's title so I can research about it:)Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
For Catholics: Church services
The Myeongdong Cathedral is said to be the biggest church in Seoul. There are 10 Masses held every Sunday, all in Korean except the 9 am one which is in English.
Take line 4 and get off at Myeongdong station, get out through exit 6. Walk all the way down the pedestrian street past the vendors for about 4-5 blocks then turn right when you the Woori Bank branch on the corner. The church is almost at the end of this road on your right (you should see the steeple as you near).Related to:
- Religious Travel
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