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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Birthplace of Empress Myeongseong of Yeoheung Min Clan, Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province

This is the house where Empress Myeongseong of Yeoheung Min Clan a.k.a Min Ja-young/민자영/閔玆暎 was born, and lived until she was eight years old. She would grow up to be the wife of the dynasty’s 26th ruler and 1st Emperor of Korean Empire, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu. Located at 71 Myeongseong Avenue/Myeongseongno, Neunghyeon-dong 250-2 beonji, Yeoju City, Gyeonggi Province - the birthplace and the adjoining Memorial Hall are open to the public.

Empress Myeongseong was a brilliant diplomat who pursued openness and reform to maintain the sovereignty of the nation. Unfortunately, her tumultuous life came to an end in the early morning hours of October 8th 1895 in Okhoru Pavilion, Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul Jongno-gu - when she was murdered by the Japanese army. 

During Japanese colonial rule, the empress was wrongfully accused of being a jealous and overly ambitious person. Studies of various archives have since revealed what a great person she really was. Recently, numerous television productions and musicals have also corrected those misunderstandings. Renovated in 1995, her birthplace includes three buildings with servants’ quarters, master’s quarters, and a separate house. A commemorative monument now stands at the site of the room where the empress studied as a child. The Memorial Hall in front of the house contains various archives and artefacts related to Empress Myeongseong’s life. There is also a 161-seat theatre.