As part of a jam packed day where we also saw Gyeongbokgung, Deoksugung and the big pillow fight event at Seoul Plaza City hall, we started it all with a visit to Cheongwadae, also known as the Blue House. The executive office and official residence of the South Korean President, it’s basically the Korean version of the White House. Located behind Gyeongbokgung, the setting is beautiful with Bukhansan in the background.

As do all important and historical buildings and locations in South Korea, the land which Cheongwadae occupies has a long history. My friend the internet reveals that it was originally a royal villa for the Goryeo Dynasty from 918 – 1392. When Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395, this site became the back garden of the palace. After Japan’s annexation of Korea in 1910, the Governor-General of Korea used the site as his official residence in 1939. After the Republic of Korea was established in 1948, the president used the site as his official residence as well. In 1968, North Koreans nearly reached the building in a battle that resulted in 68 South Korean, 28 North Korean and 3 American deaths.

To get there, follow the outer wall on either side of Gyeongbokgung to the back. Across the street, opposite the wall on both sides of the palace can be found a huge number of art galleries and quaint cafes. After passing through at least 2 vehicle checkpoints, guarded by officers of the peace, you reach a final vehicle checkpoint armed by what look like uniformed secret service type officers. Continue walking along the road, on the back side of the palace until you reach Cheongwadae.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on April 6, 2010.

One Response to “Cheongwadae”

  1. […] already taking in Cheongwadae and Gyeongbokgung, our last stop of the day prior to observing the pillow fight event at Seoul […]

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