◀ anchor ▶
Between Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon in Seoul, there is a country that has been surrounded by a high wall for a century and has not been seen inside.
It is the country of Songhyeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, where the name is derived from ‘dense pine forest’.
The Joseon royal family, Japanese imperialism, the US military government, and large domestic corporations have owned or used this land one after the other, but it is a place where citizens could not set foot.
Today, I finally returned to the arms of the citizens.
Let’s connect right then and there.
Reporter Ji Yoon-soo, citizens continue to visit.
◀ reporter ▶
A short time ago, an opening ceremony and concert was held to commemorate the opening of the Songhyeon-dong site with 300 citizens participating.
It was difficult to even look inside due to the 4 meter high fence, but it will be open to the public from today.
If you look around, you can see that the green area is about three times larger than the area of Seoul Plaza.
In the middle, lights in the shape of the moon illuminate the autumn night.
On Friday night, when the Hangeul Day holiday begins, citizens who visited their families and friends walk around.
This site in Songhyeon-dong was a buffer zone for Gyeongbokgung because there was a pine forest during the Joseon Dynasty.
However, during the Japanese colonial period, it was used as the residence of the Japanese bank Siksan.
Even after liberation, the home of the American embassy was built, so it was a place where citizens could not set foot.
After that, Samsung and Korean Air bought them one after the other and tried to build an art museum and a hotel, respectively, but they were left under a high wall amid various regulations.
“It was a top secret country, and I heard about the embassy or the official residence, but I didn’t know for sure.”
Afterwards, the city of Seoul secured land from Korean Air through a land exchange method and decided to use it as a space for relaxation and culture and art.
Flowers and grass were planted on the weedy ground only, and the wall was reduced to a 1.2-metre stone wall.
If you walk along the pedestrian path, it naturally leads to the Blue House, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Bukchon Alleys.
“I think it’s better than I thought. There’s a museum nearby, so I think it’s a great place for children to play.”
The Songhyeon-dong site will be temporarily opened for two years, and the so-called ‘Lee Kun-hee Gift Hall’ will be built in 2025, and the official cultural park construction will begin.
From now on, citizen access is banned again, but will reopen as soon as an official cultural park is built in 2028.
So far, this is MBC News’ Ji Yoon-soo in Songhyeon-dong.
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