May 23, 2022 12:41
President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee were among some 2,000 people who attended a special KBS TV concert on the Cheong Wa Dae lawn on Sunday marking the opening of the former presidential palace to the public.
It was the first public concert in the sprawling compound in 27 years and Yoon's first visit to Cheong Wa Dae since he became president but decided not to move in.
Guests were selected randomly by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism from among 29,237 applicants. Another 500 people were there by special invitation, including local residents, Korean War veterans, multicultural and single parents, medical professionals, pet rescue volunteers, and students of the nearby Seoul National School for the Blind.
"Cheong Wa Dae, the symbol of imperial presidency, was given back to the people on May 10," the presidential office said. "We hope the concert marks the beginning of its rebirth as a popular public park."
So far a total of 377,888 people have visited Cheong Wa Dae over the two weeks since it opened, and 59,536 hikers walked up Mt. Bukak on the trail that starts at Cheong Wa Dae, according to the presidential office.
The Yeongbingwan or state reception hall and Chunchugwan or press hall also opened to the public on Monday now they have been given a fresh lick of paint. Other buildings such as the main office hall and the presidential residence will be opened up later.
Tickets for guided tours can be booked on Naver, Kakao Talk or Toss until a new booking system starts on June 12.
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