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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Gwanghwamun Plaza is BLEACHED!

Rukia stands in front of the statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin. At the same time, this admiral is watching her.
Thus, this famous plaza is BLEACHED up.

Gwanghwamun Plaza (Hanja光化門廣場, also known as Gwanghwamun Square) is a public open space on SejongnoJongno-gu in SeoulSouth Korea. The plaza was opened on 1 August 2009 by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and is part of the City's plans for environmentally friendly renovation projects such as the Cheonggye Stream (Cheonggyecheon) and Seoul Plaza in Seoul Jung-gu. It is also of historical significant as the location of royal administrative buildings, known as Yukjo-geori (Hangul: 육조거리) or Street of Six Ministries; and features statues of Admiral Yi Sunshin and King Sejong the Great of Joseon.

The pedestrian-friendly open downtown urban space was first announced in February 2004, along with projects for Namdaemun (Sungnyemun) and Seoul Plaza. In December 2006, further plans for the plaza was announced. The project in conjuntion with the restoration of Gwanghwamun was carried out by the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, and schedule for completion by August 2009. The plans included moving the statue of King Sejong from Deoksugung to the Plaza. However after surveys of citizens and experts, decided to commission a new statue of King Sejong in a sitting position and chose the design in a competition between a shortlist of artists recommended by the Korean Fine Arts Association and universities.

Construction of the plaza was originally scheduled to begin in February 2008, however it was delayed because of opposition from the National Police Agency, who was concerned that the plaza could be abused as a venue for mass protests. Construction commenced on 23 April 2008, after the Government decreed it a demonstration-free zone.

It was opened after a renovation period of 15-months, which downsized the 600-meter Sejongno, from 16-lanes to 10-lanes of traffic, at a cost of ₩44.5 billion. It is located in front of Gwanghwamun and stretches south from the three-way intersection, along the front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on the west side and Kyobo Book Centre on the east side, to the Sejong-daero intersection, where the statue of the Admiral Yi Sunshin stands. At the opening the plaza was covered in a flower carpet, 162 m long and 17.5 m wide, with 224,537 flowers representing the number of days from when Seoul was declared the capital on 28 October 1394, to the opening of the plaza on 1 August 2009.

The Plaza features a water fountain in honor of the achievements of Admiral Yi Sunshin. It is named the 12.23 Fountain, to commemorates the 23 battles he fought with 12 warships, when he led Korean to victory during the Japanese Imjin Invasion (1592–1598). The water jets rises to a height of 18 meters along with 300 smaller jets, which symbolize the battles he fought on the sea. It also has a waterway, two centimeters deep and one meter across, at 365 meters along the plaza's east side. The floor of it has 617 stones recording the major events from 1392 to 2008.

On 9 October 2009, two months after the opening, the 6.2-meter high, 20-ton new bronze statue of King Sejong the Great was unveiled to the public. It is located 250 meters behind the statue of the Admiral Yi Sunshin, with an exhibition space displaying information on his life and achievements. It was dedicated on Hangul Day in celebration of the 563rd anniversary of the invention of the Korean alphabet by King Sejong.

In November 2010, the statue of the Admiral Yi Sunshin was removed for 40 days to under go restoration works. Moving for the first time in 42 years, it was lifted by a 200-ton crane and transported to a factory in IcheonGyeonggi Province. It underwent sand-blasting to remove rust, accumulated grime such as from roadside pollution; and repainted before returning to the Plaza. Other works included fortifing the inner skeleton and the restored statue was unveiled to the public on 23 December 2010.

Rallies and demonstrations are illegal at the Plaza and the Seoul Metropolitan Government has decreed that it is to use for cultural exhibitions and a demonstration-free zone. As of 1 June 2011, the Plaza along with Seoul Plaza are designated as smoke-free zones by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Smokers are fined ₩100,000 in violation. You just pay with two pieces of Shin Saimdang's bills (50000 won) or ten pieces of King Sejong's bills (10000 won).

On 23 September 2012, the Government started on a trial basis, a 550-m designated section of Sejong-ro as pedestrian-only but permitted for cyclists. The section includes the road from the Gwanghwamun three-way intersection, along the plaza in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts to the Sejong-daero Intersection (Sejong-daero Sageori).

This information is brought to you by....
'Peluntoq' is the Malay Penangite Dialect word for PELUNTUR. That means 'bleach' in Standard Malay.