컨텐츠 바로가기
HOME > Story feed

Walking along Jeongdonggil the birthplace of modern Korea

By SeoulStoryMaster 2019-07-26
552

Deoksugung Place stonewall path is a walkway where friends, families, and couples can stroll along feeling the drop of temperature on their skin as autumn begins. The path exist in popular songs and in our memories. This 20 minute walking path following along the left side of Daehanmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace connecting to Kyunghyangshinmun Building is called ‘Jeongdonggil’



The beginning of stone wall path along the left side of Deoksugung Palace


The rotating ceremony of chief gatekeeper at Daehanmun Gate, Deoksugung Palace


Although this particular walkway comes to mind in autumn, it is a beautiful walkway across all seasons. I took a slow paced tour  along Jeongdonggil and the surrounding area one weekday afternoon.



Observatory cafe looking down on the whole area of Jeongdong, 13th floor in Seosomun annex at Seoul City Hall.



Jeongdong Observatory looking down on Deoksugung Palace


Cafe located in Jeongdong Observatory


There is an observatory looking down on the whole Jeongdong located on 13th floor of Seosomun annex at Seoul City Hall when you turn left from the beginning of the stonewall path. As it can get very crowded due to is popularity among people, it is much better during weekdays. This is a good place to spend some quality time as this place not only offers a beautiful view of Deoksugung Palace and Seoul but also offers beverages for reasonable price. People living in modern society tends to walk in fast pace without realizing that they are walking with such speed. However, would such quick pace necessary in this beautiful Jeongdonggil path? As a take a slow walk along the path, I came upon a foreign artist playing performing on street. This is not a rare site in Jeongdonggil where street performances or markets open up frequently.



Foreign artist performing on street


Ongi Mailbox


The Ongi Mailbox placed on the side of the path caught my eyes. When someone writes about the worries and troubles they have and place it within this mailbox, they will receive a sincere reply from someone else regarding their concerns. This heart-warming mailbox resembles Jeongdonggil as they both have such warmth.


Seoul Museum of Art, always worth a visit


Seoul Museum of Art


The front of Seoul Museum of Art had been rebuilt recently on top of the old Supreme Court but the original architectural style of this old building from 1920s is preserved. This place always offers exhibitions of quality. Hidden figurines are placed among trees in a small garden around the museum.


Chungdong First Methodist Church, the first methodist church in Korea


Chungdong First Methodist Church


Chungdong First Methodist Church is one of the first methodist churches in Korea and was founded in 1885. The beginning of this church was when Henry Apenzeller, an American protestant missionary, gathered his followers for religious services at his house. Since then, it had been registered as 256th historical site in Korea and called the first methodist church in Korea.


Jeongdong Theater, embodiment of the restoration of ‘Wongaksa Theater’ and the artistic spirit of modern art.


Jeongdong Theater


When we have a foreign visitor, we always show them our dramatic art performances here at Jeongdong Theater. Although this theater opened in back in 1995, this is a representative building of Jeongdonggil as it holds historical value as a restoration of ‘Wongaksa,’ the first modern theater in Korea, and as an embodiment of the modern art spirit.


Jungmyungjeon Hall at Deoksugung Palace




Pathway leading to Jungmyungjeon Hall at Deoksugung Palace


Jungmyungjeon Hall at Deoksugung Palace


As you follow to the right of Jeongdong Theater, you will come upon Jungmyungjeon Hall area in Deoksugung Palace. Jungmyungjeon Hall housed Emperor Gojong of Korea from 1904 to 1907. This is also a tragic site where Eulsa Treaty had been executed in 1905. This also served as the Royal Library since its founding in 1899. The Yewon School area beside Jungmyungjeon Hall had been the residential area housing western missionaries in the past.


Former Russian Legation and King’s Road


Path to Former Russian Legation



Site of Former Russian Legation


King’s Road


As you enter the right pathway after you pass by Yewon School, you come upon a pathway leading to the Former Russian Legation. When you come to a small park, you will be able to visit the site of Former Russian Legation on top of the park. This is where the Emperor Gojong and his prince resided for a year in 1896.  Most of the building had been destroyed during Korean War and only a few parts of this building remains intact. It had been built in a Renaissance styled brick structure back in 1890. Beneath the Former Russian Legation, a pathway of 120m leads to the stone wall path of Deoksugung Palace. This path is assumed as the pathway used by the Emperor Gojong when he paid a visit to Deoksugung Palace from the Former Russian Legation during his stay.



Ewha Museum


Where Ewha Girls’ Highschool, Ewha 100th Memorial Hall, and Ewha Museum comes together


Across from Yewon School is the area where Ehwa Girls’ Highschool, formerly known as Ehwa Hakdang, Ehwa 100th Memorial Hall, and Ewha Museum all of which offers opportunity to look back upon the path treaded by Korean Women throughout the history. Ehwa Hakdang had been established back in 1866 and Ehwa Museum opened in 2006 to commemorate the 120th year of Ehwa Hakdang.


Path for finding the remnants of historical sites


A sign stone for Boguyeagwan area



As you walk along Jeongdonggil, you come upon a small sign stones placed letting people passing by of places they could have overlooked otherwise. Despite these places are gone now, they have existed in our history. I felt thankful for these stones as they mark the existence of these place that are gone now


500 years old nursing tree



Along the pathway from Kyunghyangshinmun Building to Donuimun Museum Village, once can come upon a nurse tree that is more than 500 years old. Also, along Jeongdonggil, buildings that are older than half-century can be seen frequently if you look carefully. One could say that modern history of Korea is still alive on this path. 811 path connecting from Daehanmun to Kyunghyangshinmun Building is street of missionary, diplomacy, culture, and of education. It has been told that coffee and other forms of Western Civilization passed through this path when they first arrived in Korea and then distributed across the country. It is the 100th year since the establishment of the Provisional Government of Korea. Could it be for this particular reason that Jeongdonggil which played a significant role in modern Korean history touched my heart with evermore intimate and poignant at the same time.

 


Writing, Photography / Sunyoung Lee 2019 Seoul Storytelling Team




#

Top