Sejong the Great (세종대왕), the creator of Hangeul is one of Korea’s most revered kings. It is therefore somewhat unsurprising that there are many statues of the father of Hangeul dotted all around Korea, as a celebration of his life which he dedicated to the Korean people. If you’re visiting Korea soon, a fun challenge we suggest is to visit as many King Sejong statues as you can. The statues are often placed in historical locations or parks so it’s a great opportunity to learn some Korean history or take a nice stroll in one of Korea’s many beautiful parks.
Gwanghwamun Square (광화문광장)
Undoubtably the most famous King Sejong statue these days is the one situated in Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul. Although only erected fairly recently in 2009, the statue attracts thousands of tourists every day, due to it’s impressive size and prime location. The statue is directly in front of Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁), one of Korea’s largest and most impressive palaces, originally built in 1395.
The statue is free to visit but if you’d like to enter the palace you will have to pay 3,000 won. However, if you’re in the mood to fully embrace Korean history, wearing Hanbok to the palace will grant you free entry. Hanbok is available to rent from many shops nearby the palace, you can look for any shop labelled ‘한복 대여’ meaning ‘Hanbok Rental’, but most places are labelled in English as well.
King Sejong The Great Memorial Hall (세종대왕기념관)
Our second Sejong is located outside The King Sejong Memorial Hall. The hall was first opened in 1973 and is home to various exhibitions about the many accomplishments of King Sejong. There are separate halls dedicated to his many areas of expertise including science, music and of course Hangeul. The admission is 3,000 won for adults and 1,500 won for students, so definitely worth a visit if you’re looking to learn more about the life of the great king. However, you can still visit the statue without entering the hall. The hall is located in Dongdaemun (동대문), Seoul. It is within walking distance of Korea Univ. Station (고려대역) on Seoul Subway Line 6 (6호선). Interestingly, the King Sejong statue outside the hall hasn’t always lived there. The statue was originally located at Deoksugung Palace (덕수궁) close to Seoul Station, but was moved to The King Sejong Memorial Hall in 2017.
Yeouido Park (여의도공원)
Our third Sejong is in Yeouido Park. The park is located in Yeouido Island, central Seoul. It opened in 1999 and is divided into many themed sections. The King Sejong statue of Yeouido Park is located right in the centre. The park is free to enter and is a great place for a stroll during the day or night as it is open 24 hours. The park also holds various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, and is a famous spot to see the Korean cherry blossoms each spring. The park can be reached easily from either Yeouinaru Station (여의나루역) on Seoul Subway Line 5 (5호선) or Yeouido Station (여의도역) on Seoul Subway Line 5 & 9 (9호선) as it is in between the two stations.
Yeongneung & Nyeongneung Royal Tombs (여주 영릉(英陵)과 영릉(寧陵))
Our fourth Sejong takes us outside Seoul to Gyeonggi-do. The Yeongneung Royal Tombs are where King Sejong and his wife Queen Soheon (소헌왕후) are buried. The tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage site consisting of a large park area to take a leisurely walk through and hopefully learn some history whilst doing so. The site costs 400 won to enter or free if you dress in Hanbok. Gyeonggi-do takes about an hour to reach from Seoul. To get to the site you can take a bus from Seoul Express Bus Terminal (서울고속버스터미널), to Yeoju (여주). From Yeoju Bus Terminal (여주종합터미널), take bus 965-1 and alight at Hyoreung bus stop (효릉).
So if you’re visiting Korea this year why not try and visit as many of these Sejong statues as possible and get some great pictures whilst you’re at it. Let us know how many you manage to visit.
Planning on visiting Korea this month? Let us know! You can find us on our Social Media.
Want to experience more of Korean culture? Why not subscribe now to the Inspire Me Korea CULTURE box to receive a box of goodies sent to your door every month? We ship internationally! Find out more here
Featured Image: ©Gwanghwamun Square, Elizabeth Shiers, 02.02.19, inspiremekorea.com