Seoul to open a massive green space in city center

SEOUL-- A large plot of public land in the heart of Seoul, designated as the site of a museum for the donated artworks of late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, will turn into a green resting space for citizens this year, the city government said Friday.

The 37,117-square-meter plot in Songhyeon-dong of the central ward of Jongno will be opened to the public as an "open space for rest and culture" in the second half in time for the reopening of the adjacent Gwanghwamun Square currently under renovation, the government said.

The plot will be used as a green resting place for citizens until the construction of the Lee Kun-hee museum begins in earnest ahead of its completion slated for 2027, it said.

The Songhyeon-dong land is located in the middle of the city center close to popular tourist attractions, such as Gyeongbok Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village and Insa-dong, but has been off-limits to the public for over 110 years due to high fences.

The area was where the royal family lived during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). It was then used as a residence for the staff of the U.S. Embassy from 1945 to 1997 before being owned by Samsung Life Insurance and Korean Air. It became public land in June 2020 and was selected as the site for the Lee Kun-hee museum last November.

The planned transformation of the Songhyeon-dong plot, about three times the size of Seoul Plaza (13,207 square meters), into a green space is expected to significantly increase the resting space for citizens in downtown Seoul.

The city government plans to install various resting facilities, such as shade screens and benches, and plans to hold performances, exhibitions and various other events there.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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