The former official residence of the mayor of Seoul in Hyehwa-dong, an administrative site in Seoul for 33 years

On May 9, 2014, the official residence of the mayor of Seoul in Hyehwa-dong was temporarily opened to the public. Due its controversial location—it is said to have interfered with the restoration of the Seoul Fortress Wall that Seoul City is now striving to have designated as a World Heritage site—the building was finally shut down after 33 years of service as the official residence of the mayor of Seoul. Back when it was used as the official residence of the Chief Justice, it was the venue where the ruling of the April 19 Revolution was read in secret and the Korean judiciary’s crisis in 1971 was resolved. Following that, it served as the administrative space for the mayors of Seoul. Discussions on the movement of the official residence started as early as 2004 and, finally, upon the request of the Cultural Heritage Administration in 2007, Seoul City decided to temporarily move the official residence of the mayor to Eunpyeong New Town and open the present residence building in Hyehwa-dong to the public. After the completion of the restoration project, the building will be used as the information center for the Seoul Fortress Wall. It will serve to introduce and preserve the Seoul Fortress Wall, which has been damaged and broken in the course of Seoul’s modernization.

Daeryuk Hall of Seoul National University of Science and Technology, a bridgehead for Joseon’s mine development

In 1931, the Japanese Kwantung army invaded Manchuria, and in 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, starting the Pacific War. The Japanese colonial government in Korea focused on producing weapons and developing herbal medicines in order to secure victory in World War II. To that end, the Japanese government established two schools in Korea: the Gyeongseong Imperial Engineering College and the Gyeongseong Imperial Mining College. The Gyeongseong Mining College was built to train the professionals needed for mining in Joseon so that Japan could produce the war supplies necessary for victory. Daeryuk Hall was a long, linear two-story brick, steel, and concrete building. The four-story tower in the center of the main hall of the school proves that this is a typical and authoritative school built in the Japanese colonial period. The porch in the center of the building for cars to pass by and the ramp are features commonly found in typical public buildings of the period. After Korea’s liberation from Japan, Daeryuk Hall became part of Seoul National University’s School of Engineering in 1946, but since Seoul National University moved to the Gwanak campus in 1980, it has been used by the Seoul National University of Science and Technology (formerly Seoul National Industrial University). Daeryuk Hall was built by Japan to produce human and material resources, and it continues to fulfill its original purpose as part of a university and silent witness to the history of Seoul.

Beonsachang, Korea’s first modern weapons factory

Beonsachang, which refers to the weapons factory affiliated with the Arsenal Bureau that was built to produce modern weapons, is located inside the grounds of the Korea Banking Institute in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. The roof-tiled Beonsachang, with its antique atmosphere, sharply contrasts with the modern architecture of the Korea Banking Institute building. It has been disassembled and reassembled for restoration purposes and was designated as Tangible Cultural Asset No. 51 by Seoul City. As “Beonsa” means “to cast by pouring molten metal into a clay mold,” “Beonsachang” implies that a weapon thus made creates a thundering noise and the ignition of the gunpowder creates a light as bright as day. The arched and horizontal windows and the triangular windows between the tiered roofs are said to have been used to allow the escape of the heat and smoke generated during the weapon-making process. The interior features both rafters and king post roof trusses used in Western-style wooden structures. In this respect, Beonsachang is a particularly unique building that modernized the traditional Korean roof structure. As the oldest existing brick building in the country and Korea’s first modern factory, Beonsachang served as a symbol of Korea’s will to achieve independent national defense King Gojong and the Joseon Dynasty during the period when Korea was under great pressure by Japan and Western powers.

首爾市廳之旅 邀您同行

Seoul, Together we stand

Seoul, Together we stand (39 sec)

Gangnam City Tour Bus

Seoul, Together we stand (3min 8sec)



Birthplace of the Youth Cultural Movement: Seoul YMCA

After the conclusion of the Eulsa Treaty in 1905, many patriots wanted to materialize their passion for independence and civilization through the YMCA movement. Their request to the International Committee of the Young Men’s Christian Associations of North America to establish a YMCA branch in Korea through the two missionaries Underwood and Appenzeller led to the creation of the Hwangseong Young Men’s Christian Association (today’s Seoul YMCA) in 1903. However, the Japanese Governor-General of Korea forcibly renamed the ‘Hwangseong Young Men’s Christian Association’ to the “Joseon Central Young Men’s Christian Association” and scrapped some of its education programs. Seoul YMCA, however, did not despair under such hardship and focused its energy on strengthening Koreans’ capabilities and skills and encouraging their enlightenment. It also engaged in an economic reform movement to revitalize the national economy. In 1967, after liberation from Japan, Seoul YMCA built a new building in 1967, because its original building had been burnt down during the Korean War, and embarked on the basic task of reviving its business by engaging in various activities and programs. Today, Seoul YMCA serves a crucial role in building a healthy regional community by devoting itself and conforming to the purpose and spirit of the YMCA movement.

Center of Korea’s Politics: National Assembly Building

At 48, Uisadang-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, previously 1-1 Yeouido-dong, you will find the National Assembly building, which occupies one-eighth of the entire Yeouido area. It is located in the center of Yeouido and is considered to be the best single assembly building in Asia. However, there were many difficulties before construction of the National Assembly building could begin. Although the Lee Seung-man administration, which had used the current Seoul Metropolitan Council building, decided to build a new building for the administration and selected the design of a young architect, Kim Su-geun, the plan was completely scrapped as a result of the April 19 Revolution and the military coup. The May 16 military coup led to the suspension of the construction plan, but ironically the building was constructed during the Park Chung-hee presidency. Back then, a massive investment was funneled into the construction, which caught the stern attention of the public, but some of the building’s architectural characteristics are still deemed inappropriate as they failed to reflect the opinions of the general public. As a symbol of the democratic politics of the parliament, the National Assembly building was built solely with Korean technologies, reflecting the hopes of the people. It has sometimes been mired in conflict and arguments over the past 40 years, but hopefully, many Koreans still have high expectations of the parliament to achieve truly communicative politics.