Hikes and History in the Seodaemun Area

by - June 10, 2017

I happen to work near Seodaemun Station so I always take it for granted. However, today I ended up wandering in the area towards Dongnimmun and came across a number of hidden gems. A walk down to Dongnimmun Station from Seodaemun took me through a street markets, where I brought some fruit. Further down, an unexpectedly large market houses traditional fare: Korean snacks, mountain herbs, fruits, varieties of fish and kimchi and an incalculable supply of pickled vegetables.

I continued walking until I reached the Independence Gate. Its not too far from Seodaemun, and also Dongnimmun Station gets its name from this. The arched date was constructed in 1898 to replace Yeonggeun Gate, a symbol of the submissive diplomacy of Korea where foreign envoys had previously been received. Another interesting thing is that the granite stones that comprise the monument, were modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Near the gate stands a statue of another person, whom I later found was Dr. Seo Jae-pil, an activist who initiated the construction of the gate. Past the arch is Independence Park, a family friendly green space with plenty of areas to rest, picnic or skate. It is also full of memorials and tributes to Korea’s fight for sovereignty.

Seodaemun Prison History Hall is the largest and perhaps most important of these.Once a jail for Korean independence activists during Japanese colonial rule, it's now both a history museum and a monument that celebrates Korea's vigorous fight for freedom, and is dedicated to the movement’s martyrs.

I didnt go inside, but I heard that you can see the prison cells inside as well as the torture methods. Not to pleasant indeed. Instead, I kept walking to the end of the park where I saw a man grabbing some fruit from the trees. To the end is a road that ascends upwards. I looked on my map and discovered it is Ansan Mountain.

As you can see, there isnt much to see as you keep walking on this path, but just wait....
Once you are approach a parking area, you climb some wooden stairs and then end up on a wooden trail with nice views and lots of green. You will also hear a bunch of birds.

Now, mind you, you don't really get to the top. This particular route was known as the Ansan Jarakgil route, which only skirts the mountain. To get to the top, you might have to walk much further and leave this track. But hey, even at 290 meters, its not so high but its only 30 minutes from my workplace! If you keep going, you will see a sign that says to the top. Then, you just keep going for another 30 minutes and you will hit the top!

You May Also Like