Cheong Wa Dae

The Cheongwadae or Blue House (commonly syllabicated Cheong Wa Dae) is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state, the President of the Republic of Korea. The Korean name literally translates to "pavilion of blue tiles." The Blue House is in fact a complex of buildings, built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style with some modern elements.

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


The location of Cheongwadae 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 (1392–1910) moved its capital to Hanyang, Gyeongbok Palace was built in 1395, the fourth year of the reign of King Taejo (r. 1392–1398) 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 Imperial Japan's annexation of Korean Empire in 1910, the Governor-General of Korea used the Gyeongbokgung grounds for the government-general building. In 1939, Japan built an official residence/office for the governor-general on the site of Cheongwadae. It was later dismantled during Kim Young-sam's presidency in 1993.

With the establishment of the Republic of Korea in 1948, President Syngman Rhee called the building "Gyeongmudae" (경무대, 景武臺), which was the name of one of the few old buildings there. He used it as his office and residence. President Yun Bo-seon changed the name to "Cheongwadae" 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, 68 South Koreans and three Americans were killed.

Presidents Park Chung-hee, Choi Kyu-ha and Chun Doo-hwan used it 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.


Geomancers have long considered the area in which Cheongwadae 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 of hugiwawa 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.

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