Seodaemun Independence Park

Northern Seoul

Apart from the former prison, this park, dedicated to those who fought for Korean independence, also features Dongnimmun, an impressive granite archway modelled after the Arc de Triomphe. Built by the Independence Club in 1898, it stands where envoys from Chinese emperors used to be officially welcomed to Seoul.

A tribute of gold, tiger skins, green tea, ginseng, horses, swords, ramie cloth, straw mats and eunuchs would be handed over by the Koreans. This ritual symbolised Chinese suzerainty over Korea, which only ended when King Gojong declared himself an emperor in 1897.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northern Seoul attractions

1. Seodaemun Prison History Hall

0.09 MILES

Built in 1908, this former prison is a potent symbol of Korean suffering at the hands of Japan during colonial occupation in the early 20th century…

2. Inwangsan Guksadang

0.38 MILES

This ornate shrine atop Inwangsan is one of Seoul's most important sites for shamanism, Korea's ancient, highly ritualised and somewhat taboo folk…

3. Gyeonghuigung

0.55 MILES

The Palace of Shining Celebration, completed in 1623, used to consist of a warren of courtyards, buildings, walls and gates spread over a large area. But…

4. Sajikdan

0.56 MILES

This impressive stone altar in a tranquil park surrounded by low stone walls and ornate wooden gates dates back to 1395 and King Taejo, founder of the…

5. SeMA Gyeonghuigung Museum of Art

0.62 MILES

Two large, white hangar-like structures make up this branch of Seoul Museum of Art. Periodically changing exhibitions of a variable quality and interest…

6. Heunghwamun

0.69 MILES

The impressive entrance gate to Gyeonghuigung has toured around Seoul, and was moved to its present site in 1988.

7. Seoul Museum of History


To gain an appreciation of the total transformation of Seoul down the centuries, visit this fascinating museum, which charts the city's history since the…

8. Agriculture Museum

0.71 MILES

Much more interesting than it sounds, this museum has imaginative displays that relate to the history and practice of farming on the Korean peninsula…