On August 1st, 2009, the redesigned Gwanghwamun Square opened to the public. With the inauguration of the square, Sejong-ro, located at the center of the 600-year-old historic city of Seoul, was transformed into a human-centered space that harmonizes with the beautiful scenery of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukaksan Mountain.
The close to 20,000m2 Gwanghwamun Square is located at the center of Sejong-ro which connects Gwanghwamun Gate and Cheonggye Square. The square is divided into the sections, “Recovering the History of Gwanghwamun Gate Plaza,” “Reenacting Yukjo Street Plaza,” “Korea Main Plaza,” “Civil Participation Urban Culture Plaza,” “Downtown Plaza” and “Cheonggyecheon Stream Connector.”
The “Recovering the History of Gwanghwamun Gate Plaza” section is at the entrance of the plaza, where a stone base called Woldae and a statue of Haetae, a mythical unicorn-lion that is said to protect palaces from fire, have been restored. Near Sejong-ro Park is “Reenacting Yukjo Street Plaza” where Yukjo Street, the main street of old Seoul (Formally known as Hanyang) was recreated. On the side is also a miniature depiction of Yukjo Street.
The Statue of King Sejong the Great has been relocated in the “Korea Main Plaza” where Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, is projected on a fountain water screen. Between the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin is the “Civil Participation Urban Culture Plaza” with a range of attractions and services including accommodation facilities for visitors, exhibition halls, elevators, a meeting plaza, and art galleries.
“Downtown Plaza,” located near the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin, symbolizes Sejong-ro. The Square has water facilities such as a pond and pop-jet fountains. The “Cheonggyecheon Stream Connector” functions as a connecting walking path between Cheonggyecheon Stream and Gyeongbokgung Palace.
In addition, there is the “Memorial Waterway”, flowing underground water, which goes from both Gyeongbokgung and Gwanghwamun subway stations to Cheonggyecheon Stream. Plus, behind the Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin is “Sunken Square” which connects Gwanghwamun subway station and the ground allowing people to access the Square more easily.
Two statues of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin and Sejong the Great, who are great and influential people in Korean history, are situated at Gwanghwamun Square where the beatification ceremony will take place. Visitors can see “Waterways of History” and “King Sejong Story” exhibitions, the latter of which highlights the achievements of King Sejong and history of Hangeul.