Tapgol Park, a designated Historic Site, was the first modern park to be built in Seoul. The park is located at what was originally the site of Wongaksa Temple, built during the 13th year of Joseon King Sejo’s reign. However, the temple was destroyed and the site did not become a park until 1897 due to a proposal made by Englishman John Mcleavy Brown, an advisor to King Gojong. The park is also important for being the starting point for the March 1 Independence Movement in Seoul. The original name of the park was Pagoda Park, but was changed to the current Tapgol Park on May 28, 1992. The park contains several monuments and heritages, including the Ten-story Stone Pagoda of Wongaksa Temple Site (National Treasure), Stele for the Construction of Daewongaksa Temple at Wongaksa Temple Site (Treasure), and Palgakjeong Pavilion, where the Independence Proclamation was first declared; the independence movement relief plate; and the statue of Son Byeong-hee.
Tapgol Park, formerly Pagoda Park, is a small (19,599 m2 [4.843 acres]) public park located at 99 Jong-ro (street), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. This park was once a site of Wongaksa (Buddhist Temple). The word tap means “pagoda”, and the park gets its name from the Wongaksa Pagoda, a 10 storied stone pagoda (National Treasure No.2) located in the park.
It was previously the site of a 15th-century Buddhist temple, and a 10 storied stone pagoda and a few relics of the temple still can be seen in the park. It was organized as a garden and national park by John McLeavy Brown, the Irish advisor to provincial subdivision in 1897.
One of the monuments in the park is the Monument of Wongaksa built in 1471 to record the founding of Wongaksa (temple) in 1465. On the front is an inscription composed by Kim Suon with the calligraphy done by Seong Im. On the back is found an inscription composed by Seo Geo Jeong with the calligraphy done by Jeong Nam Jong. The turtle shaped base is constructed from granite and the body is cut from marble. The monument measures 1.3 meters/4.3 feet wide and stands 4.9 meters/16.2 feet in height. Two elaborately carved intertwined dragons rising toward the sky holding a Buddhist gem reside on the top of the monument. Monument of Wongaksa is Treasure #2.
Tapgol Park is historically important as the site of the origin of the March 1st Movement 1919, an important part of the Korean independence movement as the first location for the reading of the Proclamation of Independence. There are a number of bas-relief statues representing Korean patriots, the Proclamation of Independence Monument, and a poem by Han Yong-un.
As an important place in modern Korean history, it is a popular place for demonstrations of various types. It was the designated termination of the Grand Peace March for Democracy on June 24, 1986 that led to the acceptance of free elections by President Chun Doo-hwan of South Korea. It is served by Jongno 3-ga Station on Lines 1, 3 and 5 of the Seoul Subway.
- Address99, Jong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
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