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Cheong Wa Dae,[a] also known as the Blue House in English, is a public park that formerly served as the executive office and official residence of the president of South Korea from 1948 to 2022. It is located in the Jongno district of the South Korean capital Seoul.
Cheong Wa Dae
|Former names||Gyeong Mu Dae (1948–1960)|
|Alternative names||Cheong Wa Dae|
|Architectural style||Traditional Korean|
|Address||1 Cheongwadae-ro, Jongno-gu|
|Town or city||Seoul|
|Groundbreaking||22 March 1937|
|Topped-out||20 September 1939|
|Opened||1948 (as presidential residence)|
10 May 2022 (as public park)
|Renovated||22 July 1989– 4 September 1991|
|Closed||9 May 2022(as presidential residence)|
|Revised Romanization||Cheong Wa Dae|
Cheong Wa Dae is a complex of multiple buildings built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style with some modern architectural elements and facilities. Cheong Wa Dae now consists of the Main Office Hall Bon-gwan,[b] the Presidential Residence, the State Reception House Yeongbin-gwan,[c] the Chunchu-gwan,[d] Press Hall, and the Secretariat Buildings. The entire complex covers approximately 250,000 square metres or 62 acres.
Cheong Wa Dae was built upon the site of the royal garden of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). While the Blue House served as an executive office, it 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.
History and transition Edit
The relocation of light stage architecture Edit
The beginning of the history where the Blue House site is located dates back to the Goryeo Dynasty, which was also noted as a famous place. Feng Shui singer Kim Wi-je said, "Samgaksan Mountain is a scenic view facing north and south. The mountain range that started there is three and four, and they are defending the famous place, so if you rely on Samgaksan Mountain to build a capital, the Dead Sea will come and pay tribute in nine years." Accordingly, King Sukjong, the king at the time, installed Namkyung in present-day Seoul and built a palace, which modern academia estimates is the site of the current Cheong Wa Dae.
After King Taejo of the Joseon Dynasty established the country, it was in Hanseongbu where the new capital was designated. Later, in 1394, a new palace was built, and the site was near the palace site of Nanjing, Goryeo. The current Cheong Wa Dae seat corresponds to the north of Gyeongbokgung Palace. At that time, it was said that there were temples such as Chungsundang and Chirojeong Pavilion in this place. Here, descendants of kings and founding contributors gathered to conduct large-scale membership.
The days before the Gyeongmudae (Blue House relocation name) Edit
After Gyeongbokgung Palace was burned down during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592, it was left unattended for a long time. However, during the reign of King Gojong, Gyeongbokgung Palace was rebuilt under the leadership of Heungseon Daewongun, and a support was built outside the Sinmumun Gate and in the current Cheong Wa Dae. Later, buildings such as Yongmundang and Yongmudang were built in the background, and Gyeongmudang was also built at this time.[Content 2] There were 32 buildings in Gyeongmudae, including Oungak, a resting place for the king. In the Yoongmundang, a past festival was held, and in the Yoongmudang, military training was also held.
In 1927, during the Japanese colonial period, many buildings in the background, including Gyeongmudae, were demolished. In 1939, the governor's residence at Gyeongbokgung Palace was moved to the post of patron. Even after liberation, this official residence was used as his official residence by the U.S. Military Government's John Haji.
Since the establishment of the Korean government in 1948, Syngman Rhee has named the Governor-General's residence as Gyeongmudae and used it as the president's residence.
Become the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae Edit
Yoon Bo-sun, who became president after Rhee Syng-man stepped down, named it Cheong Wa Dae in December 1960. The name "Gyeongmudae" was changed because it felt a strong image of dictatorship and corruption, but Kim Young-sang, commissioned by Yoon Bo-sun, proposed two candidates, Hwaryeongdae and Cheong Wa Dae, and Yoon Bo-sun chose it to represent our own culture. After Park Chung-hee came to power, some argued that yellow should be changed to yellow, saying it is a more precious color, but Park Chung-hee dismissed it.
At the time of Park Chung-hee's reign, the Blue House structure had an office of the president on the first floor and the second floor was a living space for the president's family. However, it was pointed out that the building was narrow and aging, and a major renovation was carried out during the Park Chung-hee administration. Later, during Roh Tae-woo's reign, an advisory committee consisting of 22 experts was formed to gather opinions and build the current main building, official residence, and Chunchugwan in September 1991. During the Kim Young-sam era, all of the old main building was demolished. The Roh Moo Hyun tried to change the structure of the main building to strengthen communication with the staff but failed. Meanwhile, during Roh Moo Hyun, the wartime evacuation facility built by Park Chung-hee in 1975 was repaired in 2003 to create a situation room (underground bunker) of the National Crisis Management Center.
Opening up to the public Edit
Because the Cheong Wa Dae has often been regarded as a symbol of the president's imperial power, many presidents made efforts to relocate the presidential office and residence.
Kim Young-sam was the first to push for relocation as a symbolic break from the previous military dictatorship era. Kim Young-sam pledged to move his office to the Seoul Government Complex near Gwanghwamun, but was unable to achieve this. Instead, the road in front of the Blue House and the Inwangsan Mountain was made open to the public. In addition, 12 safe houses located in Gungjeong-dong and Samcheong-dong were demolished, and Mugunghwa Garden, a civic park, was created.
Kim Dae Jung also pushed for a plan to set up offices at the Seoul Government Complex and the Gwacheon Government Complex but stopped due to security and cost problems. Instead, it took measures to open the Chilgung Palace located in the Cheong Wa Dae precincts and expanded the scope of Cheong Wa Dae viewing from group viewing to individual and foreign viewing.
The Roh Moo Hyun administration tried to move all government departments, including Cheong Wa Dae, to Sejong Special Self-Governing City beyond the relocation of the presidential office but failed to achieve its goal due to the Constitutional Court's decision to confirm the unconstitutionality of the new administrative capital law. Since then, Roh Moo Hyun has opened Sinmumun Gate, the northern gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Bukaksanseong-ro.
During the Lee Myung Bak administration, the relocation of the office, secretary's office, and security office was also considered, but it was suspended due to costs and approval by the National Assembly. Moon Jae In made President Gwanghwamun as a presidential election pledge, but after taking office, it also canceled it due to security and cost issues. Instead, the road in front of Cheong Wa Dae and the fortress road of Bukaksan Mountain, which had been temporarily opened, were completely opened.
Shortly after winning the 20th presidential election, the Yoon Suk Yeol officially announced the relocation of the presidential office, which was a pledge. However, moving to the Seoul Government Complex is difficult due to security problems, and instead, he expressed his intention to move to the Ministry of National Defense building located in Yongsan-gu, and actually moved. Accordingly, the Ministry of National Defense building became the presidential office of the Republic of Korea.
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 establishment 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 January 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, 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.
Major facilities Edit
The Cheong Wa Dae has a land area of 253,505 m2 and a floor space of 76,685 pyeong. At the time of the Japanese colonial era, the site area of the Governor-General's office was 644,337 m2, but after liberation, it was reduced to 230,980 m2, and then increased to the current level with the expansion of related buildings and facilities such as security. There are 73 parcels belonging to the Blue House, including Sejong-ro 1, 157-94 Samcheong-dong, and 9 other parcels, Sejong-ro 1-91 and 17 parcels, and Gungjeong-dong 1–2, and 43 parcels.
From December 2007 to February 2008, Munhwa Broadcasting covered the leaders of the Roh Moo Hyun and Roh Moo Hyunn governments, who were about to retire, and made the last 100 days of the regime a documentary between Cheong Wa Dae. The program captured secret stories from the main building, where the president's office is located, to the official residence and the Yeomingwan, and the interior of the Blue House was also disclosed to some extent. Lee Myung Bak also made and released its own documentary video shortly before his retirement, and the interior of the Blue House, including the official residence, was also released to some extent. The Moon Jae In also showed communication moves such as opening the office to mark the 100th day since taking office.
The main building was built in September 1991 as the main building used for the president's office. There is the Oval Office and it is the place where the Cabinet meeting is held. In the past, meetings of senior aides were also held here. There was also criticism that the space was larger than necessary and that it was closer to a building for protocol than a space for work and communication, so when President Moon Jae In took office, he decided to see only official work here. The main gate of the Blue House, which is used to enter the main building, is also called the 11th gate, and it is a place where ministers or higher enter during the Cabinet meeting. Pass is allowed after showing a pass and face-contrasting. The interior was partially unveiled on the day of Moon Jae In's inauguration.
It is based on the traditional wooden structure and palace architecture, with single-story annexes arranged on the left and right sides of the main building on the second floor, and 150,000 Korean blue tiles were followed after the hipped-and-gabled roof was raised. If you look closely at the blue tiles on the roof, in addition to general tiles such as Sukiwa, Amkiwa, Sumaksa, and Ammaksa, decorative tiles that can be seen in palaces such as miscellaneous statues, fiddles, dragon heads, and earthenware were used. On the first floor of the main building, there is the First Lady's office, Mugunghwa Room, a reception room, and the Inwang Room used for small lunches, dinners, and refreshments. On the second floor, there is the president's office, reception room, the reality of a house where a small number of people attend and meet, and the white-white room where small people eat, and the lawn in front of the building includes a state welcome event, a military honor guard, and a traditional funeral. Sejong Room, a separate building in the west, was the venue for Cabinet meetings and appointment award events, while Chungmu Room, a separate building in the east, was the venue for medium-sized lunches, dinners, and meetings.
The guesthouse was completed in December 1978 as a building that held large-scale meetings, welcoming foreign state guests, and various official events. It is currently the oldest modern building in Cheong Wa Dae precincts. The first floor is a reception event for foreign guests as a reception room, and the second floor is a place where large-scale luncheon and dinner events are held, decorated with Mugunghwa and laurel trees. However, it is said that the use is not strictly divided. The capacity is about 250 people, but there are no separate accommodations and there are not enough decorations or facilities to feel Korean style, so it is close to a huge banquet hall used as a venue for luncheon.
In the past, there was no space in the Blue House to greet state guests. Therefore, the Chosun Hotel and Walkerhill Hotel were used or the Korean house (content 3) was used as a guest house. In 1958, the Syngman Rhee administration nationalized Jangchungdan Park to build a guesthouse and began construction. Construction was temporarily suspended due to the April 19 Revolution and the May 16 military coup, but the Shilla Hotel guesthouse was completed in February 1967. However, it was operated mainly by state guests and suffered financial difficulties, and was eventually sold to the public in 1973 and became the current Shilla Hotel.
Since then, it has been argued that there is a space for events in the Blue House and it is not suitable for the national status, and construction of the current guesthouse on the old site of Gyeongnongjae, which was built to encourage farming during the Joseon Dynasty, began in January 1978. The guesthouse was completed at the end of that year, and in October 1998, the surrounding old buildings were renovated and renovated in June 2000.
One's old residence
The old residence was completed in 1990 as the place where the president lived with his family. Since it is a private space for the president's family, it was not well disclosed to reporters as the most closed space in the Blue House. Since then, the entrance to the official residence has been disclosed in March and November 2003, when Roh Moo Hyun was in office, and Lee Myung Bak had also released images related to family life. While in office, the Moon Jae In also made several public appearances on his way to work at the entrance of his official residence.
Kim Mak-up, who served as a contractor and butler when Park Geun Hye was in office, was later investigated by the prosecution, and so the Park Geun Hye's daily life was revealed. At this time, the structure of the official residence was also known, and according to his statement, the official residence was divided into an inner room and an annex, and the annex was where the bodyguard resided. At that time, the interior had a bedroom, study, fitness room, newsroom, Korean room, powder room, etc., and the president's bedroom was equipped with a bed, dressing table, drawer, TV, desk, laptop, and intercom. The annex had a security room, a cooking room, a dining room, and a reception room which consisted of a meeting table, a round table, and a TV.
Chun Doo-hwan, Roh Tae-woo, and Roh Moo-hyun stayed at Cheong Wa Dae on the last day of their terms and left Cheong Wa Dae the next day. Kim Young-sam, Kim Dae-jung, and Lee Myung-bak left Cheong Wa Dae on the last day of their terms and served as presidents until midnight. Meanwhile, Choi Kyu-ha and Park Geun Hye stepped down before a successor was decided, both of whom stayed at Cheong Wa Dae for a few more days after their presidential terms ended. Meanwhile, previous presidents moved in at the same time as they took office, but Moon Jae In did not move in until the third day of their inauguration due to facility maintenance. This was the first time since the completion of the official residence.
Prior to the construction of the current main building and official residence during Roh Tae-woo, the first floor of the old main building was used as the presidential office and the second floor as the presidential residence. At this time, it is said that there were two shutters on the stairs connecting the first and second floors. Later, during Roh Tae-woo's reign, the current official residence building was built behind the former main building, and the traditional architectural style was introduced while maximizing the function of the residential space. The main building, a living space, and an annex, a reception event space, were arranged, and traditional-style gardens and men's quarters were created in the front yard. The gate is called Insumun Gate, which means that "people who use this gate are virtuous, virtuous, and live a long life".
Near the official residence, there is a pavilion called Ounjeong and a building called Chimryugak. It was originally located at the current site of the official residence, but was moved to its current location during the new construction. In addition to Ounjeong Pavilion, there were two to three pavilions in the Cheong Wa Dae precincts, but now all of them have been demolished and remain. The date when both Ounjeong Pavilion and Chimryugak Pavilion were built is unknown. However, it seems that it was built afterwards, considering that neither building is mentioned in the shape of the northern palace, which is believed to have been built in 1907. Some say it was built during the Rhee Syngman era, but the signboard of Oh Un-jeong is also handwritten by Syngman Rhee.
The so-called handsome stone Buddha, the stone seated Buddha of the square pedestal of Gyeongju, is also located around the official residence. As the name suggests, it was originally located in Gyeongju-si, but it is said that Governor Masatake Terouchi moved to the governor's residence during the Japanese colonial period. When the official residence was newly built in the 1930s, the Buddha statue was also moved, and in 1989, when the official residence of the Blue House was newly built, it moved back to its current position.
With the inauguration of President Yoon Suk Yeol on May 10, 2022, it lost its function as an official residence and was changed to an old residence.
Yeomingwan is the place where Cheong Wa Dae aides work and is divided into three buildings. It was changed to Wiminkwan during the presidency of Lee Myung Bak, and when President Moon Jae In took office, it was returned to Yeomingwan, the name of the expansion during the Roh Moo Hyun regime. Yeomingwan is taken from Yeomin Dongrak, a phrase from Mencius, and means "to share joy with the people". On the other hand, Wimin speculates that it means 'politics for the people'. Immediately after its launch, the Moon Jae Inn government said it would use the existing name of the Women's Hall, but soon reversed it and returned it to the Yeomin Hall because it could give the feeling that the Blue House is the main body and the people are objects.
The main building and Yeomingwan are about 500m away, which is about 5 minutes by car and 10 minutes by walk. However, secretaries reportedly ran with reports or used bicycles because there were no dedicated vehicles available in Cheong Wa Dae precincts and it took longer to call them. As a result, Roh Moo Hyun envisioned a Korean-style West Wing while constructing Yeomin Hall 1, and frequently worked here with the president's office inside. However, in the second half of his administration, he preferred the office of the main building, and Lee Myung Bak also received reports from the office of the Yeomingwan three or four times. Park Geun Hye did not visit the office of Yeomingwan while in office, but Moon Jae In worked at Yeomingwan again.
The construction of Yeomin Hall 1 began in May 2004 and was completed in December. It has an annual floor space of 974 pyeong and has one basement floor and three ground floors. The Chief of Staff's office and the State Affairs Office are located on the second floor, and the President's simple office, small meeting room, and conference room are located on the third floor. Before the establishment of Yeomin Hall 1, Yeomin Hall 2 was called an annex and Yeomin Hall 3 was called Dong annex, which was completed in 1969 and 1972, respectively, and is an old building. A safety diagnosis showed a grade D, and the National Assembly allocated a budget for repair work first. The Blue House Library is located in Yeomin Hall 2, and as of January 2018, there are 18,662 books. Books can only be rented, and the library receives applications every month and purchases books after internal review.
Sugungteo Site was named because the former main building, the official building of the Governor-General of Joseon during the Japanese colonial period, was demolished in November 1993 and restored to its old state. In addition, information boards and commemorative stones of the old main building were made to inform visitors of the origin of the Sugung site.
Sangchunjae is a traditional hanok located behind Nokjiwon, the garden of Cheong Wa Dae, and is used for foreign guests. The meaning of Sangchunjae is "a house where spring always continues". The current site of Sangchunjae Pass was the site of an annex called Maehwasil, a Japanese-style wooden building, during the Japanese colonial period. It was about 66 square meters in size. After the establishment of the government, it was changed to Sangchunsil, which was used as a ritual building for refreshments and dinner events. Later, in March 1978, Sangchunsil was demolished and Sangchunjae, a 73m2 natural slate roof-style wooden building, was built. In November 1982, the existing Sangchunjae Pass was demolished and a 417.96m2 hanok was completed in half a year, taking its current shape. It is the first traditional hanok built in the Cheong Wa Dae precincts, and it is said to have used Chunyangmok (Content 4), which is more than 200 years old. Inside, there are a living room made of Daecheongmaru and two ondol rooms.
Chun Doo-hwan is said to have frequently met foreign guests and held informal meetings at Sangchunjae. Successive presidents also used it as a venue for informal meetings and meetings with foreign leaders. Park Geun Hye held a New Year's press conference at Sangchunjae in January 2017, when the impeachment trial was underway, after never using Sangchunjae during his term. After taking office, Moon Jae In used Sangchunjae Pass, and the repair work of Sangchunjae Pass, which was damaged everywhere due to moisture, was also carried out at this time.
Nokjiwon is said to be the most beautiful place in the Cheong Wa Dae precincts and has more than 120 species of trees. Among them are commemorative drinking water of previous presidents. During the Japanese colonial period, it was the garden of the official residence of the Governor-General of Korea and was also used as a site for livestock farms and greenhouses. After the establishment of the government, in 1968, when a space was needed to function as an outdoor venue in the Blue House, grass was planted and a green garden was created. Initially, the green area was 5,289 m2, but it was expanded to 5,620 m2 in 1985. Currently, the Green Garden is holding various events such as Children's Day, Parents' Day, and International Day for the Disabled.
Chunchugwan was completed in September 1990 as a venue for the president's press conference and a newsletter room for reporters. With an annual floor space of 1,028 pyeong, it has three stories above ground and one basement floor, and earthenware and earthenware are placed on the roof of Matbae. The name Chunchugwan originated from Chunchugwan, which existed during the Goryeo and Joseon periods.
Until the Kim Dae Jungn government, reporters could freely go to the secretariat building in Cheong Wa Dae to cover the secretary. However, as security has been strengthened since the Roh Moo Hyunn government, reporters were completely banned from entering the Blue House precincts and were changed so that they could only be covered by the Spring and Autumn Hall. When a Cheong Wa Dae official gives a briefing, he visits Chunchugwan and gives a briefing. Reporters are using a pool press system that covers them as representatives in order and then shares the contents, so there are considerable restrictions on Cheong Wa Dae coverage.
Mugunghwa Garden is a civic park built after demolishing the existing inner house of Gungjeong-dong in July 1993. Five safe houses were demolished and built, and it is 10,560 m2. The garden of Dongsan is facing Cheong Wa Dae, and the back gate is facing Changchangmun. In the middle of the hill is the central square, and in the middle of it is a well-shaped well, which means Gungjeong-dong. In addition, a stone wall of 30m long and 3m high is located at the site of the grand banquet hall in Angana-dong, where Park Chung Hee was assassinated.
Chilgung is a Joseon-era shrine located right next to the Blue House guesthouse. It is called Chilgung because it enshrined the seven concubines who could not become queen. Due to the security and security of the Blue House, only those who applied for the Blue House are allowed to watch the commentary.
In the wake of the January 21 incident, the north of Chilgung Palace was demolished to create a road. One of the reasons was that it was a habitual traffic accident area, but it was also aimed at strengthening the security of the Blue House. Due to this construction, Jeogyeonggung Palace and Daebingung Palace were moved to their current positions. Since then, Chilgung Palace has been banned from viewing, but it has been reopened to the public in connection with Cheong Wa Dae viewing in 2001.
Seobyeolgwan is a meeting-only building located on the west side of the main building of the Blue House, facing Chunchugwan with a heliport in between. Yeonpungmun Gate, located right in front of it, is a place where Cheong Wa Dae employees enter and outsiders enter.
Secret meetings called "Seobyeolgwan Conference" were often held because it is located inside the Blue House and is easy to maintain security because it is far from the Yeomingwan and there is no access record. The first meeting was held in 1997 to discuss the IMF economic crisis and has since been held in previous governments. During a hearing on the remittance case to North Korea in October 2002, Rep. Uhm Ho-sung of the Grand National Party made his remarks, which made it known to the outside world for the first time. The Lee Myung Bakn government regularly discussed economic issues every Tuesday under the name of a macro-policy council involving the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, the governor of the Bank of Korea, the chairman of the Financial Services Commission, and senior presidential secretary for economic affairs. However, there was often criticism that it was a closed-door agreement because no records, including the minutes, were left during the secret meeting.
Controversy escalated when 4.2 trillion won worth of funding was decided through an annex meeting during the Park Geun Hyen government as a way to support normalization of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Criticism mounted over the decision to set economic policies and determine the fate of insolvent conglomerates and banks at secret meetings. As a result, the Seobyeolgwan Conference, which was called the "hotbed of government administration", was no longer held after June 2016, but revived in December 2018 under the name of the Economic Coordination Conference after the inauguration of the Moon Jae Inn government.
In November 2019, the interior structure of the annex was remodeled while keeping its appearance intact. It was an underdeveloped and closed building, so it needed to be remodeled, and there was a lack of conference rooms in the Cheong Wa Dae precincts. The purpose was to raise the meeting that was held in the secret room to Yangji and transform it from a high-level consultation hall to a meeting hall that also uses working-level officials. During the remodeling process, it was considered to change the name of the building, but this was canceled because "it could be an opportunity to change the name of Seobyeolgwan, which has been disgraced."
Sihwa Gate and Yeonpung Gate
Sihwamun Gate and Yeonpungmun Gate are the doors of the Blue House but are separated from the main gate. Yeonpungmun Gate served as a guide building for visitors to the Blue House and was completed in February 2009. It is 859m2 in size with two floors above ground and one basement floor. On the first floor, there is a visitor information room, a rest room, an entrance gate, and the Nonghyup Blue House branch, and on the second floor, there is a book cafe and an interview room. It is an eco-friendly building with a geothermal system and a solar system.
Yeonpungmun Gate was also controversial as a place where various official and informal meetings were held attended by Cheong Wa Dae officials. In 2009, there were suspicions that executives of three mobile carriers, SK Telecom, LG Uplus, and KT, were invited to contribute a large amount of funds, and a secret meeting attended by policy advisers such as defense, administrative safety, unification, and foreign trade was also held at Yeonpungmun. There was also talk that an official from the Mir Foundation participated in the Yeonpungmun meeting in 2016.
It was in 1970 that an information room was established in Cheong Wa Dae. Since then, in August 2007, during the Roh Moo Hyun government, the 55-myeon meeting room and the 22 information room, which were the names of the information rooms at the time, have been changed to the Bukak information room and the fountain information room, respectively. These numbers were the numbers of the guard post where the information room was located, which was intended to be changed into soft, easy-to-understand words that could help visitors understand. After the inauguration of the Lee Myung Bak government, the existing information room, which had few convenience facilities other than two sofas, was extensively constructed to take its current shape. The names of the Bukak Information Room and the fountain Information Room were also changed to Yeonpungmun Gate and Sihwamun Gate, respectively, which was derived from Sihwa Yeonpung, which means "opening the era of harmony and growing the economy every year". It also created a bank on the premises that visitors and employees can use, and Nonghyup was finally selected.
The main gate of Cheong Wa Dae is only available to a small number of people, including the president, foreign leaders, and Cabinet members, and most Cheong Wa Dae employees enter through Yeonpungmun Gate or Sihwamun Gate. Sihwamun Gate adjacent to Gyeongho-dong is mainly used by bodyguards, and Yeonpungmun Gate adjacent to Yeomingwan is mainly used by secretarial staff.
Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae
Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae is a building built for tourists visiting Cheong Wa Dae or near Cheong Wa Dae, and is a space where you can learn about Korean history and culture. Inside, things related to past presidents are displayed, and an exhibition hall is also built. In addition, Korean food programs are being held for foreigners.
On the first floor, there is a Korea Tourism Exhibition Hall, a souvenir shop, and a shelter, and on the second floor, there is a Cheong Wa Dae Hall and a public communication experience center.
The history and old photos of Cheong Wa Dae, as well as the old photos and history of Gyeongbokgung Palace, which are compared to Cheong Wa Dae, are all displayed here in the Cheong Wa Dae Sarangchae, and souvenirs are sold.
Originally, this seat was the place where the presidential chief of staff's official residence was located, but when the front road of the Blue House was opened in February 1996, it was changed into a complex cultural space to provide convenience and attractions for the people. At that time, it was called Hyoja-dong Sarangbang, and the building was remodeled in January 2010 due to aging, and it became its current appearance and name. On the first floor, there were the National Public Relations Center and the Seoul Public Relations Center, and on the second floor, there were the Presidential Hall, the Government Public Relations Center, and the G20 Rest Area.
Cheong Wa Dae security is handled by the Presidential Security Agency and is in charge of police and military security. In the police organization, three organizations belonging to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, the 101st Guards, the 202nd Guards, and the 22nd Police Guard, are also in charge of the security and protection of the Blue House. The 101st Guards guard the interior of Cheong Wa Dae, and the 202nd Guards guard the exterior. The police guard is in charge of guarding the president at an event outside the president. The number of personnel is about 700 for the security team and 100 to 150 for the security team. In the military organization, the first security team belonging to the Capital Security Command is in charge of the outer security. There are two battalions, a combat support squadron, an armored squadron, and an air defense unit under its wing, and it was established by integrating the 30th and 33rd guards that existed in the past. The number of troops under the wing is about 2,000.
The controversy over feng shui has been around for a long time due to the defeat of the Japanese Empire six years after the establishment of the former governor-general's residence in Gyeongbokgung Palace, but the controversy began when 5 rocks were discovered.
Choi Chang-jo, a former professor of geography at Seoul National University, argued in the 1990s that "the Cheong Wa Dae site is a permanent residence of dead souls or a residence of God." In addition, a number of feng shui researchers said that Cheong Wa Dae is receiving the spirit of Namsan Mountain, Gwanaksan Mountain, and Bukaksan Mountain in the future, but the Cheong Wa Dae site is not good because many rocks in Bukaksan Mountain are "living" in feng shui.
Dr. Cho Soo-beom of Dankook University's Feng Shui Geography Department introduced the site of the 7th Palace, where many concubines lived, and the alienated and abandoned land that was once used as a temporary tomb for martial arts training for soldiers. He said that the Cheong Wa Dae site was exposed to the surrounding miscellaneous energy, and that Gyeongbokgung Palace was also long and ugly throughout the Joseon Dynasty, and there were many disagreements.
On the contrary, many argue that the Blue House is long. In other words, the royal palace was built during the Goryeo Dynasty, and the energy of the country is so prosperous that it has been reborn as the world's 10th largest economy in decades after liberation, so what is wrong with the land. It is argued that the president's late years have not been smooth because it is a problem in the political system and it is due to personal greed, so it has nothing to do with the Cheong Wa Dae site.
On 20 March 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. 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. The visitors will be able to witness cultural performances, tours, and even hiking trails that lead to Bugak Mountain, Cheongwadae's scenic backdrop.
The Government of South Korea allocated ₩36 billion (about $29.5 million) from government reserve funds for the purpose of relocation of the office. However this move of relocating the presidential office and the defence ministry at a time was critiqued saying that it had implications for national security along with cost and others worrying about issues like increased nuclear activity in North Korea and post-pandemic economic recovery. While a recent survey revealed that 58% of the people opposed this move.
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. Others contend that it is cursed, due to the misfortunes that has befallen on its previous occupants.
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.
One of the buildings at the Cheongwadae Reception Center
Another building at the Reception Center
Near the entrance to the Blue House grounds
Monument on road in front of the Blue House, administrative building in background
View over the Gyeongbokgung and the Blue House at the foot of Bugaksan
Aerial view of the Blue House
Fountain in front of the Blue House
A bridge connecting the garden area to the Reception Center
View from the balcony of the visitors center
President George W. Bush at the Blue House in February 2002
The Blue House logo was first enacted in 1995 during the Kim Young-sam administration, and the logo was modified in 2005 during the Roh Moo-hyun administration. In 2008, with the inauguration of Lee Myung-bak government, a new logo was released. In 2013, a new logo was released with the launch of Park Geun-hye's government, and was used until the end of Moon Jae-in's government in 2022.
See also Edit
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