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Seodaemun Prison History Hall
Seodaemun Prison History Hall

Seodaemun Prison History Hall

251, Tongil­ro, Seoul, South Korea

The Basics

While the prison closed in 1987, it reopened as a museum and memorial hall in 1998 to commemorate the lives lost in the name of Korean independence. Visitors take a sombre journey through various prison cells, a watchtower, an execution room, a tunnel through which corpses were carried, plus the basement cell where the teenage female prisoner Yu Gwansun was tortured and died. Exhibit areas display photos and video footage of prison conditions, and a memorial outside the building lists the names of the 90 known Koreans who died inside (some 600 are believed to have perished here). A visit to Seodaemun Prison History Hall can be combined with a half-day trip to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) for a closer look at two dark periods in South Korean history.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Seodaemun Prison History Hall is an important place to learn more about Korea’s history.

  • The museum is wheelchair-accessible, and wheelchairs are available to rent on-site.

  • Give yourself an hour to 90 minutes to tour the site and its exhibits.

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How to Get There

Seodaemun Prison History Hall is well-connected by public transportation. Take Seoul Subway line 3 to Dongnimmun Station and leave through exit 5, or take one of several public buses to Independence Park.

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Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul

How to Spend 3 Days in Seoul


When to Get There

The memorial hall is open Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year, with slightly longer hours during the summer season (March to October).

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Learning More About Korean Independence

If you’re interested in the Korean struggle for independence from Japan, there are several other notable places in the city worth exploring. Start at Tapgol Park, where the March 1 Movement for independence began in 1919. The Seoul Museum of History also has a gallery dedicated to the history of the city under Japanese occupation.

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