We had a great weather last Sunday. We spent it inside the National Assembly compound in Yeouido. Our real intention was to see the cherry blossom but my husband said they are not in full bloom yet so we just took subway line 6 to Gwangheungchang station and took bus 143 to the National Assembly. We got off right in front of Korea’s legislative building.
^^The lawn in front of the National Assembly building
The National Assembly compound is huge. There are several buildings here including the NATV (National Assembly Broadcasting Center), National Assembly Library, the Visitor Center, the National Assembly Research Center, and the main legislative building. There is also a daycare center with an outdoor playground at the rear area. The place is so huge that one might need a finger pulse oximeter (of course this is usually just for medical patients) when walking around the whole compound.
^^I guess there is a building code for structures surrounding the National Assembly. Notice that there are no high-rises here.
From April 9 to April 18, citizens could freely visit the National Assembly. They even provided four electric cars to transport visitors from one building to another.
Since it’s the season of flowers, there is a photo exhibit just outside the Visitor Center from April 6 to April 18 featuring 152 photographs of the National Assembly and its parks.
NATV is not one of my favorite channels but I wouldn’t deny that I sometimes tune in to them once in a while. They sometimes show interesting movies and documentaries (and I love documentaries!)
When we got to the Visitor Center, which is located at the eastern side of the compound we took the electric car first and got off behind the main building. We just missed the last tour inside by a few seconds, but I didn’t fail to notice that this flower is real – it’s the mugunghwa, which is Korea’s national flower.
We took the electric car again back to the Visitor Center. Here’s how the lobby looks like from the second floor.
What I like about this place is that they have a small theater where parents could watch an animated series about legislation and economics. My son enjoyed the series so much that he never wanted to go anywhere else. My husband and I took turns in accompanying him and touring the Center.
On the second floor, there is also an area where kids can play and learn about the Assembly.
The Speakers Hall on the first floor, just right behind the grand staircase, is where one can find the 411 on the past and present speakers of the National Assembly.
The gifts that the speakers received on their official visits overseas are on display at the Speakers Hall.
Here are some more of those gifts displayed near the side entrance.
On the second floor is a room featuring the past and present presidents of South Korea.
In this room is a replica of the desk that the president uses.
There is also a place to learn about other countries’ parliaments.
I applaud the National Assembly for coming up with a multimedia haven for the citizens to learn about the going ons of the legislative department. However, there is no English services (yet?) for foreign visitors who are not versed in Korean.
There is more to the National Assembly than what the media portrays it to be – a place where grownup men and women in their expensive suits occasionally get in a brawl ;p