For anyone who knows a little about the Korean language, you would have learnt that the written language (or Hangeul; 한글 in Korean) was invented and propagated by King Sejong (yup, that’s the one sitting right at Gwanghwamun square!)
The Korean language in the past was only a spoken language and was written in classical Chinese characters (what we know as Hanja;한자 today). However, King Sejong worked towards creating an alphabet that was unique to the Koreans, which would correspond to the way the Korean language is spoken, instead of pronouncing Chinese characters in Korean language like before. And thus the Hangeul was born! I have to say that the Korean alphabet is one of the easiest to learn, because you just need to fit different pieces together and you would know how to pronounce the word already 😀 (And of course it is really much easier than Chinese characters)
Just last year, Hangeul Day which is celebrated on October 9th was made a public holiday in South Korea. Also in further efforts towards the promotion of Hangeul, the National Hangeul Museum was recently opened on Hangeul Day this year. The museum features exhibitions tracing the history of the development of Hangeul as well as artifacts related to the Hangeul.
Contrary to what you might think a museum about the history of the Korean alphabet would look like, it actually looks really modern huh? I was expecting traditional palace like architecture or something. This is another interesting part about the fusion of the modern and history in Korea ^^
Bonus: Guess what I found, an Underwood typewriter that actually types in Hangeul! (Yes, it is “that” Underwood family which Underwood International College is named after. The Underwood family not only establish Yonsei University, contributed to various charities as Christian missionaries in Korea, but also owned a typewriter company!)
The National Hangeul Museum is located right next to the National Museum of Korea, making it very convenient for a visit to both museums! The next time you visit Korea, why not drop by the Yongsan area and visit both museums to learn more about the history of Korea?
How to get there:
Address: 139 Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul (서울시 용산구 서빙고로 139 국립한글박물관)