The place where the president works is special in any country. Even if the person in office changes, the office itself often stays the same. It’s even common for the office to have its own meaningful name. Case in point is the White House in the United States and the Casa Rosada in Argentina.
In South Korea, we call the presidential office “Cheongwadae”, or “the Blue House”. As this was the place where some of the country’s biggest decisions were made, Cheongwadae was restricted to the public for security purposes. However, it’s recently fully opened to the public! Incheon Airport ✈ has added it to the list of recommended places for visitors to Korea! Let’s explore why Cheongwadae is worth a visit and the history behind the decision to open it up to the public.
Cheongwadae, How It Came to Open Up After 74 Years
The history of Cheongwadae dates back to 1104 when King Sukjong of the Goryeo Dynasty was in power. At that time, Goryeo’s “Igung” (Detached Palace) was built near the current Blue House. After the Joseon Dynasty and the Japanese colonial era, it was called Gyeongmudae following the establishment of the Korean government on August 15, 1948. The name changed again to Cheongwadae while the fourth President of the Rep. of Korea Yoon Bo-sun was in office.
It is a place where the history of the Republic of Korea is preserved, and all the past presidents of the country used it as their office. Until, that is, come May 2022, a big change was made! The 20th president of South Korea took office and changed his office location.
The newly appointed president, Yoon Seok-yeol, moved to Yongsan after his inauguration, announcing, “I will return Cheongwadae to the people.” The relocation of the presidential office, which was also a part of President Yoon Seok-yeol’s campaign pledge, became a reality and the original Cheongwadae was opened to the public for the first time in 74 years.
Cheongwadae, a Place For Citizens to Come, Play, and Rest
What’s notable is that nature 🌱 and history are well preserved in the grounds of Cheongwadae. With Cheongwadae opening its doors to the public, people will be able to relax, take a walk, and explore relics of history. There are three different walking routes that range from an hour and a half to two hours long. This is a great way for visitors to appreciate and enjoy time in nature.
You can also view the inside of Cheongwadae. You can take a look at 10 different areas at Cheongwadae, including the main building frequented by members of the presidential office and foreign guests, the guesthouse where large-scale meetings or official events were held for foreign guests, and the presidential residence where the past presidents and their families lived! 😀
You can apply for a viewing through reservations made in advance or apply on site. 500 on-site applicants are accepted twice a day: 9 AM and 1:30 PM. For those who weren’t able to make reservations in advance, make note of these times and apply in person! Cheongwadae is closed every Tuesday.
Incheon Airport ✈ recommends making a visit to Cheongwadae! What do you think? Seeing the living space of the president, a person who is the head of an entire country, is a special experience that doesn’t always come around. Most Koreans weren’t even able to see Cheongwadae…until now! This change created such a buzz that when Cheongwadae officially opened up, over one million applicants were already making reservations in advance!
If you visit Korea, make sure to include a visit to Cheongwadae, a place full of history and nature! Incheon Airport ✈ will continue to share more fun and useful travel information, so stay tuned!