OWL Magazine Korea

Seoul City Hall Plaza and Seoul Library

Seoul City Hall, overseeing the administration of Seoul Special City, is located in the Gwanghwamun area, considered the heart of Seoul. Heading slightly south from Gwanghwamun Square, past Gyeongbokgung Palace, you can find Seoul City Hall. It is situated to the east of Deoksugung Palace.

The current Seoul City Hall underwent several demolition and restoration processes. A new building was constructed, and the original city hall building is now utilized as the “Seoul Library.”

“Newly Constructed Seoul City Hall Building in 2012”

The new Seoul City Hall building was completed in 2012 after going through several design iterations to achieve its current design. It was officially unveiled on May 24, 2012, after the removal of the curtains, fully revealing its exterior.

The building features a prominent glass facade, which at one point sparked controversy due to its resemblance to a tsunami, leading to discussions that it resembled a Japanese-style building covering the old city hall. However, this design was seen as refreshing by some foreigners, with some expressing interest in seeing the building.

“Seoul City Plaza, Seoul Square”

The plaza in front of Seoul City Hall was established in May 2004 and was originally referred to as “City Hall Plaza.” However, in 2004, it was renamed “Seoul Square.”

Seoul Square holds significant historical importance in modern history, witnessing events such as the April 19 Revolution and the June Democratic Uprising. On June 9, 1987, during the June Uprising, the dying words of activist Lee Han-yeol were, “I have to go to City Hall tomorrow…,” marking this place as a pivotal location in modern history. The memorial service for Lee Han-yeol, following the June 29 Declaration, also took place here.

“May 1, 2004: Creation of Seoul Square”

Prior to 2004, the square was asphalted. On May 1, 2004, the area was transformed into a proper square when it was renamed from “City Hall Plaza” to “Seoul Square.” With the addition of a grassy lawn, it became a more pleasant environment.

After the successful 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, Seoul Square became a prominent location for street cheering during the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

It remains one of Seoul’s iconic spaces, hosting various gatherings and events.

“Seoul Library”

After the completion of the new Seoul City Hall building in 2012, considerations were made regarding the utilization of the original city hall building. Eventually, it was decided to repurpose it as a library.

While the former Seoul City Hall building is a remnant of the Japanese occupation, it has been designated as a registered cultural property since 2003, preserving it as a piece of modern heritage.

The space that once served as City Hall has now transformed into a library, and since becoming the Seoul Library, it has become a popular destination for many.

“Seoul Library Offering E-books”

The Seoul Library is now an open space for everyone. You can visit the library to read or borrow books in person. Additionally, in line with recent trends, the library also operates an e-book service.

You can access the e-book service through the library’s website. After signing up, you can search for and borrow the books you want to read and return them. The fact that it is available for free is a significant advantage.

However, compared to other e-book applications, the e-library is somewhat lacking in completeness. Although e-books can be read, there may be cases where images and formatting are disrupted, which can be inconvenient. Nevertheless, the ability to read books for free is a major advantage. With some improvements in the application, including the addition of features like bookmarks and note-taking, the reading experience could be even better.

You can access the e-library through the following link.

“Seoul City Hall, Seoul Library”

  • Address: 110 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
  • Phone Number: 02-120
  • Operating Hours: (Tue-Fri) 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, (Sat-Sun) 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Closed: Mondays, Public Holidays
  • Website: https://lib.seoul.go.kr