OWL Magazine Korea

Incheon, Cheong-il Foreign Settlement Boundary Steps

Incheon Open Port Street, established after the opening of Incheon, became a place where various foreign settlements were established following the initiation of the Japanese settlement in 1883 and the formation of the Qing Dynasty settlement in 1884. Particularly noteworthy are the Cheong-il Foreign Settlements, where many Japanese and Chinese residents lived, considering China and Japan were neighboring countries to Korea.

“Cheong-il Foreign Settlement Boundary Steps in Incheon”

There exists a set of steps marking the boundary between the Chinese and Japanese settlements. Established in 1883 with the commencement of the Japanese settlement and the subsequent formation of the Qing Dynasty settlement in 1884, this area is currently connected to Freedom Park and features steps and landscaping.

From the steps, looking in both directions, one side showcases Chinese architectural style, while the other side presents Japanese architectural style. It serves as a place where you can appreciate the cultures of China, Korea, and Japan in one location.

“Settlements Established for the Protection of Each Country’s Nationals”

These settlements were established to protect the nationals of each country, similar to today’s embassies, but they also hold a historical significance, representing a region with a somber history of ceding territory to foreign countries during the late Joseon Dynasty.

As a relic of modern history left through the opening of the port, it symbolizes a border-like area, akin to the boundary markers between Chinatown and the Japanese-style street in Open Port Street, carrying the weight of a poignant history.

“At the End of the Steps: Statue of Confucius”

Upon reaching the top of the steps, you may encounter the statue of Confucius, overlooking the area below. As the founder of Confucianism, which still influences today, Confucius is regarded with reverence in China. Here, you can observe a statue of Confucius up close.

Although it holds the sad history of Korea during the late Joseon Dynasty, it stands as a historical landmark where you can appreciate the histories of China, Korea, and Japan all in one place.

“Incheon Cheong-il Foreign Settlement Boundary Steps”