CONTRIBUTED BY CHRISTINE BRUNS
It was a beautiful, clear day in Korea – what to do, what to do? We decided it was about time to get out and explore a bit more, so we jumped on the subway near Yongsan and headed towards City Hall. Heading out of exit 4, Line 1 at City Hall Station, this is what we saw – an exhibit that changes regularly, just outside the entrance:
Next we passed the start of the scenic Cheonggyecheon Stream, a reclaimed waterway designated for walking and often decorated throughout the various seasons. This is a great place to head during the Seoul Lantern Festival.
As we made our way towards Gyeongbokgung palace, we walked along Gwanghwamun square, a central island that leads up to the palace entrance. It’s surrounded by various museums, performing arts buildings, the US Embassy, restaurants, and the palace.
Here we saw numerous fountains and statues, including this memorial for Admiral Yi Sun Shin and a replica of his “Turtle ship”. Admiral Yi was a 16th Century Korean Naval Commander, revered for his victories against the Japanese during the Imjin War. One of his most famous battles was depicted in a recent popular movie, Roaring Currents, where Admiral Yi managed to emerge victorious from the Battle of Myeongnyang, despite being outnumbered 133 to his 13 warships.
Next was King Sejong the Great, the most respected king of the Joseon Dynasty and the leader credited with the creation of Hangul, Korea’s alphabet, as well as various scientific instruments.
A full museum dedicated to him and to Admiral Yi are located underneath the square, with an entrance at the back of King Sejong’s statue. You can find more details here.
Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul
Gwanghwamun Station (Subway Line 5), Exit 2, direct access from the station
City Hall Station (Subway Line 1, Exit 4) walk straight towards Gwanghwamun
Jonggak Station (Subway Line 1), Exit 1, walk straight towards Gwanghwamun
Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Subway Line 3), Exit 6, double back and walk towards Sejong-ro and the square
Address: 1-106 Sinmunno 2(i)-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
GPS Coordinates: 37.5721529, 126.9701722