Initially called Gyeongseong Prison, the Seodaemun Prison was created in 1908 in order to detain Korean independence fighters resisting Japanese rule. After the liberation of Korea in 1945, the facility remained in use as a prison until 1987, this time detaining important democracy activists. The prison is indeed a historic place that has been part of many ups and downs in modern Korean history.
Seodaemun Prison Execution Chamber
A wooden Japanese-style structure, all of Korean patriots and loyalists who were transferred to this place during the period of Japanese rule met their end here. Tours to the Seodamun Prison can take about an hour to an hour and a half, and takes visitors through the historic exhibition hall, central prison, 12 jail cells, Gonjaksa (13 jail cells), Hansen hospital, the patriot memorial, execution chamber, a tunnel through which corpses were carried, watchtower, and a basement jail cell where the female patriot, Yu Gwansun, died.
Coming out of the exhibition area, visitors will soon notice a series of memorial stones dedicated to martyrs and patriots who sacrificed their lives for their country, including those to Gang U-gyu, Ahn Chang-ho, and Yu Gwan-sun.
The Seodaemun Prison History Hall serves as an important reminder to humanity on the importance of freedom and peace through its harrowing exhibitions of the past.
※ Open hours
March to October 09:30–18:00
November to February 09:30–17:00