Seoul Station-Namdaemun Church-Square Garden-Baekbeom Plaza-Seoul Fortress Wall-Sungnyemun Gate
Around 2 Hours
Persons who miss the old landscapes of Seoul, have big interest in the alleys and have curiosity about the surrounding area of Seoul Station
The first Seoul Station built near Yeomcheongyo(Bridge) in 1900 was a timber building with area of 10 pyeong (around 33 square meter). At that time its name was ‘Namdaemun Station’, built to provide the central part of Gyeongseong (Seoul) with materials. The Seoul Station (Gyeongseong Station) was rebuilt at the current place in 1925. Large and showy Seoul Station built in eclecticism style of the 19th century was the second-largest one after Tokyo Station in Asia. Like the here in the novel «Wing» written by Sang Lee, many young people used to meet people and to drink tea in the station. A new station building was established in 2004 and the old one is used as a complex cultural space with the name of ‘Culture Station Seoul 284’.
Namdaemun Chuch was formerly the ‘Jejungwon Church’ attached to the Jejungwon (a royal Korean hospital) which was the first western type of hospital in Korea. When the Jejungwon moved to the Peach Valley (currently the place of Yeonsei Buidling) outside the South Gate in 1904, the church also moved to outside of the South Gate. The chapel covered with a tent was built on the site of the current Namdaemun Park and called ‘Nammunbak Church (Church outside the South Gate)’ which became the Namdaemun Chuch later. The current stone building in Gothic style in was designed by Dong-jin Park, a Korean modern architect, and completed in 1969. After looking around Namdaemun Church, you are recommended to take some rest in the park between Seoul Square and Namdaemun Church.
Normally unknown to the people, Baekbeom Plaza is a peaceful and unfrequented park inside Namsan Mountain. Contrary to the current relaxed atmosphere, it had to go through considerable changes many times in the process of city development. In 1925, the Japanese Empire established Joseon Shrine on the foot of Namsan Mountain looking down Seoul. It is tragic and painful history that the Korean people had to pay their respects to toward the Japanese Shrine at that time. After the liberation in 1945, Syng-man Rhee, a former President tried to build National Assembly building here but failed because of 5.16 military coup. After that, an outdoor music hall, Namsan Mountain Botanical Garden, fountains, a zoo, etc. were built in the area. It came to have the current appearance by restoring the city walls in 2009 in ‘Namsan Mountain Renaissance’ project.
Sungnyemun Gate is the oldest gate of Hanyang (Seoul) which had 4 big gates and 4 small gates. Sungnyemun was built when Seong-gye Yi, the first King of the Joseon Dynasty set up the capital on Hanyang area in 1938. There used be Chilpae market outside the gate and the former Namdaemun market inside the gate, making the place most crowded and packed among the 4 gates. In the modernization period under the Japanese colonization, a part of the gate got damaged in the process of construction tramlines, leaving it in the shape of island, not a gate. The fire in 2008 destroyed a part of 1st and 2nd floor gate pavilions but recently they were restored.