Seoullo 7017

The second excursion today on October 14h was a city walk to, among others, Seoullo 7017. We were welcomed by three tour guides at the metrostation, where we were divided into three groups for the tour.

The first stop was the Culture Station Seoul 284. This building was the formal Seoul railway station built in 1925. It closed in 2004 and was transformed into a cultural station. The statute in front presents martyr Kang Woo-kyu, who threw a grenade at a Japanese Governor General in 1919. He was excecuted for this action the following year.

Martyr Kang Woo-kyu with a grenade in his hand

Then we walked towards Seoullo 7017. Seoullo 7017 was a former 938m highway connecting the railway station to downtown Seoul. It was built in 1970 because of the large number of people wanting to find jobs in Seoul after the Korean war, which ended in 1953. Then, due to safety reasons, the highway closed and was transformed into a pedestrian walkway in 2017. The name Seoullo 7017, refers to the Korean name of skygarden and to the original construction date (’70) and the redevelopment (’17). The skygarden is designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV and is located 17m above the ground. The park includes 645 tree pots and lots of different species. The park is aimed to create more green and recreation possibilities in Seoul and is used daily by lots of people. According to the tour guide, the traffic network is not influenced by the closing of the highway, since the number of people entering Seoul for work is not at its peak anymore.

Seoullo highway transformed into a skypark

Our next stop was the Seoul city wall. In 1396, the city wall was built to protect Seoul against invaders and is almost 19km long. Formerly the wall had four main gates, one in the north, east, south and west. Four smaller gates were only used for slaves and dead bodies. The wall was renovated three times during the reign of three different kings. All kings used different types of stones, still clearly visible.

Seoul city wall, with at the left the reconstruction of King Sejong and right of King Sukjong

We ended the tour in Baekbeom Plaza park, where momorial stones stand. For example, in the memorial of patriot An Jung-geun, his words are engraved in Korean and Chineese. Another stone represents the comfort woman during the Korean War.

Memorial stone with text in Korean and Chineese

Overall we learnt a lot about Korean history and how Seoul has changed over the past 600 years.