Cheong Wa Dae (Korean: 청와대; Hanja: 靑瓦臺; lit.'Cyan-tile Pavilion'), also known as the Blue House, was the executive office and official residence of the president of South Korea, located in Jongno-gu of the capital Seoul. Cheong Wa Dae is in fact a complex of multiple buildings, built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style with some modern architectural elements and facilities. The Blue House was one of the most protected official residences in Asia. Upon the inauguration of president Yoon Suk-yeol in May 2022, Cheong Wa Dae was relieved of its duties as the official residence and executive office of the president and was fully converted to a public park.

Blue House
청와대
靑瓦臺
Cheong Wa Dae
Korea-Seoul-Blue House (Cheongwadae) Reception Center 0688&9-07 cropped.jpg
The reception center of the Blue House in 2010
Blue House is located in Seoul
Blue House
Location in Seoul
Former namesGyeong Mu Dae (1948–1960)
Alternative namesCheong Wa Dae
General information
Architectural styleTraditional Korean
Address1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu
Town or citySeoul
CountrySouth Korea
Coordinates37°35′12″N 126°58′35″E / 37.5867°N 126.9763°E / 37.5867; 126.9763Coordinates: 37°35′12″N 126°58′35″E / 37.5867°N 126.9763°E / 37.5867; 126.9763
Groundbreaking22 March 1937 (1937-03-22)
Topped-out20 September 1939 (1939-09-20)
Opened1948 (1948) (as presidential residence)
9 May 2022 (2022-05-09) (as public park)
Renovated22 July 1989 (1989-07-22) – 4 September 1991 (1991-09-04)
Closed9 May 2022 (2022-05-09) (as presidential residence)
Korean name
Hanja
Revised RomanizationCheong Wa Dae
McCune–ReischauerCh'ŏng'wadae

Built upon the site of the royal garden of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), Cheong Wa Dae now consists of the Main Office Hall Bon-gwan (Korean: 본관; Hanja: 本館; lit. "Main House"), the Presidential Residence, the State Reception House Yeongbin-gwan (Korean: 영빈관; Hanja: 迎賓館; lit. "Welcome-Guest House"), the Chunchu-gwan (Korean: 춘추관; Hanja: 春秋館; lit. "Spring-Autumn House") Press Hall, and the Secretariat Buildings. The entire complex covers approximately 250,000 square metres or 62 acres.

HistoryEdit

The location of Cheong Wa Dae was the site of a royal villa in what was then Hanyang, the southern capital of the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392). It was built by King Sukjong (r. 1095–1105) in 1104. Goryeo's principal capital was at Kaesong, and it also maintained a western capital at Pyongyang and an eastern capital at Gyeongju.

After the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897) moved its capital to Hanyang, Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395, the fourth year of the reign of King Taejo (r. 1392–1398) as the main palace, and the royal villa lot became the back garden of the palace. It was used as the site for civil service examinations and military training.

Following Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910, the Japanese governor of Korea used the Gyeongbokgung grounds for the Government-General Building. In July 1939, Japan built an official residence/office for the governor-general on the site of Cheong Wa Dae.

With the establishments of the Republic of Korea in 1948, President Syngman Rhee called the building "Gyeong Mu Dae" (Korean: 경무대; Hanja: 景武臺, lit.'capital pavilion'), which was the name of one of the few old buildings for former official residence there. He used it as his office and residence. President Yun Bo-seon changed the name to "Cheong Wa Dae" after he was inaugurated in 1960. The name was reportedly changed as it had ostensibly become associated with authoritarianism and dictatorship. An alternate name "Hwaryeongdae" was proposed alongside "Cheong Wa Dae" as a possible renaming candidate, but the latter was ultimately chosen.

In 1968, North Korean infiltrators nearly reached the building in a bid to assassinate President Park Chung-hee during the Blue House raid. In the ensuing melee, 28 North Koreans, 26 South Koreans and four Americans were killed.

Presidents Park Chung-hee, Choi Kyu-ha, and Chun Doo-hwan used the building both as their office and official residence. While President Roh Tae-woo was in office, a new office building, official residence, and press center, called Chunchu-gwan, were built. The main office building was opened in April 1991. In 1993 during Kim Young-sam's presidency, the building built by Japan for the then-official residence was dismantled.

On March 20, 2022, South Korea's President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol announced that he would take office on May 10 in the Ministry of National Defense building in the Yongsan District of Seoul, and open the Blue House to the public as a park.[1] In May 2022, in accordance with order issued by Yoon Suk-yeol after he took office, the building officially converted into a public park and opened to public visitation for the first time in its 74 year history, with a maximum of 39,000 visitors allowed on a daily basis.[2]

SettingEdit

Gardens on the grounds of Cheong Wa Dae

Geomancers have long considered the area in which Cheong Wa Dae is located as an auspicious location. This view was backed up by an inscription on a stone wall that reads: "The Most Blessed Place on Earth", found behind the official presidential residence during the construction of a new building in 1990.

To the north is the mountain Bukhansan, flanked by two mountains, Naksan, symbolizing the Azure Dragon, on the left and Inwangsan, symbolizing the White Tiger, on the right. To the south is Namsan, the protective mountain of the capital. In front flow the Cheonggyecheon stream and Han River.

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ S. Korea's next leader to abandon Blue House for new office - SFG(03/30/2022)
  2. ^ Kim, Jung Yoon (18 May 2022). "South Korea's Blue House presidential palace opens to public for first time in 74 years". Associated Press. Retrieved 18 May 2022.

External linksEdit