SEOUL, Jan. 21 (Korea Bizwire) — The Gwanghwamun Plaza, a national landmark located in the heart of Seoul, will be greatly expanded to be reborn as the capital’s cultural, historical and transportation hub, the municipal government said Monday.
The size of Gwanghwamun Plaza, next to Gyeongbok Palace, the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, its front entrance Gwanghwamun Gate and the Seoul Government Complex, will be increased by 3.7 times by 2021 as the plaza will be expanded toward the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced.
The removal of roadways between Gwanghwamun Plaza and the Sejong center will increase the overall scale of the plaza from 19,000 square meters to 69,000 square meters, leading to the creation of a pedestrian-centered public space, the government said.
The width of the plaza will nearly triple to 60 meters.
The “Historic Square” will be built on a lot covering 36,000 square meters in front of the Gyeongbok Palace to symbolize Seoul’s status as the national capital for more than 600 years and its citizenship exhibited in historic civil movements, including the March 1, 1919, independence uprising against Japan’s colonial rule, and the recent candlelight revolution, it said.
The government will also build a 350-meter-long “underground city” with a space of about 10,000 square meters between the Gwanghwamun Plaza and the Seoul City Hall.
The underground city will include a new station for the Great Train Express (GTX) Line A, a high-speed commuter rail network that will link Paju, northwest of Seoul, with Dongtan, south of the capital, via downtown Seoul by 2023.
The GTX station will be connected to Gwanghwamun Plaza of subway Line 5, Seoul City Hall Station of subway Line 1 and 2, and an extension of the New Bundang Line, turning Gwanghwamun Plaza into the capital’s new transportation hub.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced the transformation project for Gwanghwamun Plaza in a news conference, saying the project is intended to safeguard Seoul’s historical value and encourage various activities by citizens.
Park said his government will decide by the year’s end whether the symbolic statues of the Joseon Dynasty’s King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun-shin will be relocated to other locations within Gwanghwamun Plaza.
He explained the statue relocation has been proposed to ensure an unhindered view of Gyeongbok Palace and Mount Bukak from the site.