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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Bupyeong Protectorate Office, Incheon Gyeyang-gu: Explore the history of the Old Bupyeong-Gyeyang


Bupyeong Protectorate Office (Hanja/Romanization: 富平都護府/Bupyeong-dohobu Cheongsa) was designated as Tangible Asset No. 2 of Incheon Metropole on March 2nd, 1982. Bupyeong Protectorate was previously known as Gyeyang Protectorate (桂陽都護府/계양도호부) in 1215 (2nd Reigning Year of King Gojong Wang Cheol of Goryeo Dynasty).

The Protectorate Office was originally built during the reign of King Sejong the Great of Joseon Dynasty (1397-1450) at the previous lot in the present-day 54 Gyeyangsanno, Gyesan-dong 898-beonji, Incheon Gyeyang-gu. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during the Japanese Imjin Invasion of 1592 and again during the Chinese-Qing Byeongja Invasion of 1636. It was last rebuilt during the reign of King Sukjong (1674–1720) and moved its present location at the Incheon-Bupyeong Elementary School (인천부평초등학교) Grounds in 20 Eosadae Avenue/Eosadae-ro, Gyesan-dong 943-beonji, Incheon Gyeyang-gu, in front of which, Gyesan-dong Gingko Tree (City’s Designated Monument No. 11), and the traces of Yogeunji (City’s Designated Heritage Material No. 1) and Eosadae (City’s Designated Heritage Material No. 3) are kept together.

Bupyeong Governorate was promoted to Annam Protectorate in 1150 (4th year of King Uijong of Goryeo Dynasty), Gyeyang-dohobu in 1215 (2nd year of King Gojong, and Bupyeong-dohobu in 1413 (13th year of King Taejong Yi Bang-won of Joseon Dynasty). In view of all these circumstances, it is thought to have been completed in 1418 (18th year of King Taejong  Yi Bang-won/1st year of King Sejong the Great) five years later since its construction began as it was promoted to Bupyeong-dohobu. It also corresponds to the age of gingko tree (approx. 600 years) being preserved next to the office. The tree seems to have been planted as a landscape tree during time. 

According to the record, it was built in a splendid scale consisting of a lot of buildings such as Gaeksa, Dong, Seoheon, Sammun, Geunmin-dang, Dong/Seochaekbang, Saryeongcheong, Hyangcheong, Podocheong, Hunmudang, Buchang, etc., but it is remained in the form of Naeah only. Originally it was in the form of “ㄱ/giyeok” type building, but it was later changed into “ㅡ/eu” type building in the form of Hipped and Gable Roof Cross Beam house with six kans (Korean Customary Unit System) at the front and two kans at the sides when it was transferred to this place.

Interesting remains of the building include three Jangdaeseok (long stone beams), Gomaki, a rectangular cornerstone, and a rectangular lake named 'Yokeunji' constructed by using a long Jangdaeseok. In 1789, King Jeongjo sent courtiers to worship at the Royal Tomb of Jangreung in Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province, and then visited Hyunryungwon, the garden of Crown Prince Sado-Jangheon (King Jeongjo's father who was killed by his own grandfather, King Yeongjo). He then visited Bupyeong for an audience with the governor and to practice archery. It is said that after shooting an arrow, he washed his hand in Yogeunji.