Blue House

The Blue House (Korean: 청와대; Hanja: 靑瓦臺; Cheong Wa Dae; literally "pavilion of blue tiles")[1][2][3] is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state, the President of South Korea, located in the Jongno district of the capital Seoul. The Blue House is in fact a complex of multiple buildings, built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style with some modern elements. The Blue House is the most protected official residence in Asia.

Blue House
Cheong Wa Dae
The reception center of the Blue House in August 2010.
Location in Seoul
Alternative namesCheong Wa Dae
General information
Address1 Cheong Wa Dae Road, Jongno District
Town or citySeoul
CountrySouth Korea
Coordinates37.586673°N 126.976268°E / 37.586673; 126.976268
Current tenantsMoon Jae-in, President of South Korea
Construction startedJuly 22, 1989 (1989-07-22)
CompletedSeptember 4, 1991 (1991-09-04)
Blue House
Revised RomanizationCheong(-)wadae

Built upon the site of the royal garden of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), the Blue House now consists of the Main Office Hall Bon-gwan (Korean: 본관; Hanja: 本館), the Presidential Residence, the State Reception House Yeongbin-gwan (Korean: 영빈관; Hanja: 迎賓館), the Chunchu-gwan (Korean: 춘추관; Hanja: 春秋館) Press Hall, and the Secretariat Buildings. The entire complex covers approximately 250,000 square metres or 62 acres.


The location of Cheong Wa Dae was the site of a royal villa in what was then Hanyang, the southern capital of the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392). It was built by King Sukjong (r. 1095–1105) in 1104. Goryeo's principal capital was at Kaesŏng, and it also maintained a western capital at Pyongyang and an eastern capital at Gyeongju.

After the Joseon Dynasty (13921897) moved its capital to Hanyang, Gyeongbok Palace was built in 1395, the fourth year of the reign of King Taejo (r. 13921398) as the main palace, and the royal villa lot became the back garden of the palace. It was used as the site for civil service examinations and military training.

Following the Empire of Japan's annexation of the Korean Empire in 1910, the Governor-General of Korea used the Gyeongbokgung grounds for the Government-General Building. In July 1939, Japan built an official residence/office for the governor-general on the site of Cheong Wa Dae.

With the establishments of the Republic of Korea in 1948, President Syngman Rhee called the building "Gyeongmudae" (Korean: 경무대; Hanja: 景武臺), which was the name of one of the few old buildings for former official residence there. He used it as his office and residence. President Yun Bo-seon changed the name to "Cheong Wa Dae" after he was inaugurated in 1960.

In 1968, North Korean infiltrators nearly reached the building in a bid to assassinate President Park Chung-hee during the Blue House raid. In the ensuing melee, 28 North Koreans, 26 South Koreans and four Americans were killed.

Presidents Park Chung-hee, Choi Kyu-ha, and Chun Doo-hwan used the building both as their office and official residence. While President Roh Tae-woo was in office, a new office building, official residence, and press center, called Chunchugwan, were built. The main office building was opened in April 1991. In 1993 during Kim Young-sam's presidency, the building built by Japan for then official residence was dismantled.


Gardens on the grounds of Cheong Wa Dae

Geomancers have long considered the area in which Cheong Wa Dae is located as an auspicious location. This view was backed up by an inscription on a stone wall that reads: "The Most Blessed Place on Earth", found behind the official presidential residence during the construction of a new building in 1990.

To the north is the mountain Bukhansan, flanked by two mountains, Naksan, symbolizing the Azure Dragon, on the left and Inwangsan, symbolizing the White Tiger, on the right. To the south is Namsan, the protective mountain of the capital. In front flow the Cheonggyecheon stream and Han River.

See also


  1. Romanization by the official website: Archived 14 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Cheong Wa Dae rules out renegotiation of FTA with US". Seoul: Yonhap News Agency. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
  3. "Cheong Wa Dae Aims to End Graft in Defense Procurement". Chosun Ilbo. Seoul, South Korea. 9 December 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
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