OWL Magazine Korea

Incheon, the Birthplace of Korea’s First Western-style Modern Park – “Freedom Park”

At the heart of Incheon’s urban center lies “Freedom Park,” where you can now find a statue commemorating General MacArthur, who led the successful Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War.

Freedom Park, situated in the Songhak-dong area of Incheon Metropolitan City, stands as Korea’s first Western-style modern park. Covering the entire region of Eungbongsan, a modest hill with an elevation of 69 meters, it has been transformed into Freedom Park.

The Past as Various Country Parks – Freedom Park

The park’s creation dates back to 1888, during the late Joseon Dynasty and the early days of Incheon Port’s opening. At that time, many foreign residents entered Incheon through the port, necessitating a park for their leisure. Consequently, Russian civil engineer Afanasy Seredin-Sabatin designed the park in the Eungbongsan area in 1888. Through consistent expansion efforts, it has evolved into its present state.

Being established nine years before Seoul’s Tapgol Park, considered the first Western-style park in Seoul, Freedom Park takes pride as Korea’s first Western-style and modern park.

Originally referred to as “Various Country Parks” (各國公園) by the citizens, the park’s name changed to “West Park” when, in 1914, control shifted to Incheon Province along with the abolition of various country residences under Japanese influence. After liberation in 1945, the park was renamed “Man-guk Park” (萬國公園).

General MacArthur and Freedom Park

The park assumed its current name, Freedom Park, from “1957.” In September 1950, citizens raised funds to create a statue honoring General Douglas MacArthur, who commanded the Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War. The statue was erected in the southeast section of the park, and during that time, Incheon Mayor Kim Jeong-ryul renamed the park to “Freedom Park.”

Within the park, you’ll find not only General MacArthur’s statue but also the 1982 Korea-U.S. Centennial Monument. Traditional structures with octagonal roofs, including Seokjeongnu and Yeonojeong, are also present. The view of Incheon Port from Seokjeongnu and Freedom Park Plaza, especially during sunset, is quite spectacular, making it a famous spot. Consequently, on December 31st, events like the New Year’s Eve Sunrise Festival are held in Freedom Park Plaza, along with Seokguseojin and Wolmido.

The Site of the Establishment of the Korean Provisional Government – Incheon Freedom Park

This park holds significant meaning in modern Korean history. It played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Korean Provisional Government, the only provisional government on the Korean Peninsula. On April 23, 1919, 24 representatives from 13 provinces gathered in this park, where they announced the “Spirit of the National Assembly” and declared the “Proclamation of the Provisional Government.” A monument in Freedom Park Plaza commemorates this historic moment.

Incheon Freedom Park is not only centrally located in Incheon’s urban center but also adjacent to Chinatown, Open Port Street, and Songwol-dong Fairy Tale Village. It stands as a central point for exploring Incheon’s urban attractions.

Known as the place where General MacArthur’s statue, famed for the Incheon Landing Operation, breathes, Incheon Freedom Park encapsulates the history of Incheon. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Incheon’s rich history.

Incheon Freedom Park

  • Address: 25 Jayugongwonnam-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon 22315