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Sejong Hanwool Road: A Walk in Memory of King Sejong

October 9th is Hangeul Day, which commemorates the creation of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. King Sejong, who created Hangeul, is deeply immersed in Korean lives and is still a role model of many citizens. For these reasons, The Sungkyun Times (SKT) would like to introduce the Sejong Hanwool Road walking course that might make you know more deeply about King Sejong.

King Sejong and Sejong Hanwool Road

Who Is King Sejong?

King Sejong was born on May 15th, 1397 under the name of Lee Do, and reigned as the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty. He loved to read books in his youth and left outstanding achievements in many ­elds, including science, art, and culture. One of the significant accomplishments is the creation of Hunminjeongeum, an ef­cient scienti­c alphabet that anyone can easily learn. He invented Hunminjeongeum after seeing that peasants could not read books about farming methods. He also paid great attention to science and technology and found scholars like Jang Young-sil. Moreover, he supported the invention of a celestial globe, a sundial, and a Korean rain gauge. King Sejong worked hard for the welfare of the Joseon people and is still praised as the greatest sage king of all.

What Is Sejong Hanwool Road?

Sejong Hanwool Road, developed by Jongno-gu in 2011, is a walking course where you can feel the fantastic achievements and the breadth of King Sejong. It starts from the statue of King Sejong at Gwanghwamun Square and goes through Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and finishes at Gwancheondae which is Joseon’s astronomical observatory. It takes about 3 hours on foot, and everyone can walk the course easily except for Bukchon Hill.

October Walk Along Sejong Hanwool Road

1. Statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun Square

The starting point of the Sejong Hanwool Road is the statue of King Sejong in Gwanghwamun Square, which is a landmark in Seoul. The Bukaksan Mountain and Gwanghwamun Gate, which are directly behind the statue, show the magni­cent scenery of Seoul. The statue of King Sejong facing the south was designed to spread the pride and excellence of the nation to the world. In front of the statue, there are models of a celestial globe, a sundial, and Korean rain gauge that show the scienti­c achievements of King Sejong. The statue shows gentleness rather than the dignity of the king. On its one hand, a book is held, and the other hand serves the people. At the back of the statue, there is a passageway connected to the Sejong Story Exhibition Hall, which honors King Sejong’s life and his achievements.

2. Sejong Story Exhibition Hall

The Sejong Story Exhibition Hall is located underground and consists of six exhibition spaces, including planned exhibition zones, such as the Human Sejong and Creation of Hangeul. Tourists can appreciate the anecdotes of King Sejong and his astonishing achievements, including music, science, Hangeul, and military in detail. Tourists can go in free from 10:30 to 19:30 (except for Monday when it is closed). Also, the Chungmugong Story Exhibition Hall is located next to it so that visitors can enjoy the life and achievements of Admiral Yi Sun-shin.

3. The Birthplace of King Sejong and Gyeongbokgung Palace

There is a memorial stone installed on the sidewalk of Tongin-dong, Jongno-gu, which replaces the birthplace of King Sejong. Tourists may find the stone if they step forward out of exit number two of Gyeongbokgung Station. Please be aware of going too far without paying attention. There is Tongin Market just a few minutes away from his birthplace, which has a lively atmosphere and delicious food. After looking around the king’s birthplace, it is recommended to walk gently to Gyeongbokgung Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace represents the Joseon Dynasty’s palaces and has outstanding scenery. King Sejong was the first king who ascended to the throne and passed away in Gyeongbokgung Palace. Moreover, there was a Hall of the Worthies where scholars did their research and created Hangeul, which sadly now is gone. Instead, Sujeongjeon Hall, where the king did his tasks, is now there. Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed every Tuesday and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Admission is free if a visitor is under 24 years old.

4. Bukchon Asian Cultural Art Museum

Come out through Geonchunmun, the east door of Gyeongbokgung Palace, and walk up to the Bukchon Hanok Village. As you walk up while seeing the beautiful Hanok (traditional Korean house), you will arrive at the museum before you recognize it. It was the site of the house of King Sejong’s virtuous teacher, Maeng Saseong. Now, however, only a memorial stone is left and the museum is located there instead. On the ­rst ‑oor of the museum, there is an exhibition hall and a seodang which was built for etiquette education. On the second ‑oor, there is a zone of traditional experience overlooking the view of Bukchon. Visitors can enjoy the view of downtown Seoul and Hanoks all at once while having a cup of traditional Korean tea at the outdoor terrace. The entrance fee is 5,000 won, including a cup of tea.

5. Gwancheondae

Finally, there is Gwancheondae which is Joseon’s astronomical observatory located near Anguk Station. Gwancheondae shows the prestige and expertise of astrology of the Joseon Dynasty, and it is believed that King Sejong built it. It can be difficult to find as it is located inside the parking lot of the Hyundai Engineering Building.

Sejong Hanwool Road is a walking course that has many great points. The path goes through the many beautiful sites in Seoul, and there are many delicious food stores and interesting shops located on the road. When the autumn wind blows cool in October, walk along King Sejong’s footsteps and enjoy the atmosphere of Seoul.

김우재  okemoskim@naver.com

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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