Cheong Wa Dae, or the Blue House which is the official residence of South Korea’s President, will open to the public at noon on May 10, immediately after President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s inauguration ceremony, in line with his promise to return the compound to the people, officials said on Monday.
Visits can be booked in advance online starting from Wednesday at 10 a.m. and will be limited to 39,000 people per day, or up to 6,500 people per two-hour time slot, according to the officials on the Cheong Wa Dae relocation task force.
“We decided to fully open the doors to Cheong Wa Dae as the inauguration ceremony on May 10 ends,” Yonhap News Agency quoted Rep. Yoon Han-hong, chief of the task force on presidential office relocation, as saying during a press briefing.
“Thus, the main building and the guest house, as well as the top-class garden Nokjiwon and Sangchunjae will be reborn into an open space that can be enjoyed by all the people,” he said.
Yoon promised during the campaign to relocate the presidential office out of Cheong Wa Dae and return the compound to the public, saying the move would help him connect better with the people as the Blue House had become “a symbol of imperial power”.
The new presidential office will be set up on what is now the Defence Ministry compound in Seoul’s Yongsan district.
Visits will run from noon to 8 p.m. on May 10, and then from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day after that, including weekends.
The current Cheong Wa Dae tour programme is limited to 1,500 people per day, but the new program will allow 26 times more people to visit and freely without a guide.