Busan Destinations: Presidential Residence in the Provisional Capital

Check out one of the cities national historic heritage sites this year as the 94-year old building tells the tale of history in Busan.

The City of Busan designated the ‘Presidential Residence in the Provisional Capital’ was designated as a national heritage site (Historic Site No. 546) on November 6, 2018.

Busan now has a total of six historic national heritage sites, including Sell Mound in Dongnae, Geumjeongsanseong Fortress, Shell Mound in Dongsam-dong, Ancient Tombs in Bokcheon-dong and Ancient Tombs in Yeonsan-dong.

The ‘Presidential Residence in the Provisional Capital’ was built in August 1926 and was used as the official residence for the governor of Gyeongsangnam-do during the Japanese Occupation.

During the Korean War (1950-1953), Busan was the provisional capital of the country for 1,023 days and President Rhee Syngman used this building as the presidential residence. It has been called the ‘Presidential Residence, Gyeongmudae,’ since then.

After the Korean armistice, the capital returned to Seoul and the building was used as the residence for the governor of Gyeongsangnam-do. When the Gyeongsangnam-do provincial government building moved to Changwon in July 1983, Busan took over the building and reopened it as ‘Provisional Capital Memorial Hall’ in June 1984 to exhibit relics from the provisional capital period during the Korean War. The city designated it as Busan monument no. 53 in May 2002.

The ‘Presidential Residence in the Provisional Capital’ is a two-story wooden building with a mixture of Western and Japanese architectural styles, and built by the Japanese Governor-General of Korea during the Japanese Occupation.

It is the only remaining building, as the largest residence of a governor, built in South Korea in the 1920s.

The City of Busan has been made a strong effort for the building to be designated as part of the country’s national heritage due to its architectural value and uniqueness.

The building has become a symbolic spot where major decisions about Korea’s modern history were made, including defense, diplomacy, politics and administration affairs.

Prehistoric and ancient ruins have mostly been introduced as historic sites in Busan. This modern architectural structure, newly designated as a national heritage site, is a great chance to promote the value of modern architecture in Busan and acknowledge the importance of the modern and contemporary history of Busan.

Lead image: Wikicommons/hyolee2

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