Jeongdong - Discovering history of the old "Legation Street"

Sunday, July 15, 2018 -
1:00pm to 5:00pm
Jeongdong (south side of Deoksugung)
W20,000 members; W25,000 non-members
Tour Leader: 
Suk, Ji-Hoon
Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch

Jeongdong - Discovering history of the old "Legation Street"

It is safe to say that the whole neighborhood of Jeongdong is a unique place for every enthusiasts of Korean history. Running along the stone wall on the southern side of Deoksugung Palace up to where Seodaemun (The Great West Gate) once stood, the area still resonates with the history of "early modern" Korea, from its very beginning with a bizarre episode about a royal tomb, to the very end of the Joseon dynasty with the "fall" of the Daehan Empire. Much of this history centers around the Deoksugung Palace, and over the course of this tour we will examine the history of the palace interwined with the history of the Joseon dynasty; its first creation as a royal villa in the 15th century, its expansion and reconstruction in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the destruction and negligence it has undergone throughout much of the 20th century.

Jeongdong is also unique for becoming the very first "international district" in Korean history, as when Joseon opened its doors to the Western world, some of the first Westerners - mostly missionaries and merchants - settled in the area. Known as the “Legation Street” or the “European Quarter”, it was a busy and dynamic district, with quite a lot of interesting episodes and other notable incidents worthy of mention. However, while there are still quite a lot of buildings and sites that are intact - including the oldest surviving protestant church building in Korea, as well as three of the original legation buildings from the 19th century - the history of the area suffers from a "clash of narratives", in which the historical narratives derived from Korean sources and the "Western" narratives are at odds to each other. This tour would try to provide a broader understanding of the area's history by "harmonizing" these two narratives, trying to de-mystify and debunk some of the popular misunderstandings about the history of this region.

We will meet at Exit 1 of the City Hall Station (Subway Line 1/2) at 1 pm. After seeing the palace, we will work down to the Jeongdong-gil. Time permitting, we might visit the Gyeonggyo-jang, a splendid Western-style house built in 1938 which later became the last residence of Kim Gu, the famous independence activist and the president of Korean Provisional Government in Exile in China. No dinner is provided but anyone can join Jihoon after the tour for dinner.


Please register your RSVP for the Jeongdong Walking Tour, Wednesday,  July 11, 2018, by simply click here.  Please register one RSVP at a time.
☞Payment to be remitted to the following account:  SHINHAN BANK ACCOUNT # 100-026-383501 (RAS-KB)

Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

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