National Cemetery for the May 18th Democratic Uprising
The National Cemetery for the May 18th Democratic Uprising, located in the place with a scenic view of Mudeungsan Mountain, is the representative historic site of the modern times that carries on the legacy of ‘Justice City Gwangju’, such as the army raised in the cause of justice for the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592 and at the end of Joseon Dynasty, and the Gwangju Students Independence Movement during the Japanese Colonial Area, etc. This place is the national cemetery where the victims of the 5.18 Democratization Movement and the men of national merit who passed away after being injured or tortured and suffered the hardship of prison life after being imprisoned. With the inauguration of the civilian government in 1993, it was announced to revaluate the May 18th Democratic Uprising and to build the burial ground of the victims as a democratic shrine so the construction was finished in 1997 and raised to the status of a national cemetery in 2002. There are 684 graves of the fallen souls of the May 18th Movement inside the cemetery and it is consisted of seven buildings such as the Gate to Democracy, Portrait Enshrinement Hall, Seungmoru, as well as Historical Area, Democratic Square, Worship Square, Exhibition Area, Memorial Tower of the May 18th Democratic Uprising, seven Historical Squares, Memorial Monument, Construction Completion Monument, etc.
The 40m high Memorial Monument holds the wish for the Spirit of May 18th to sublimate into a pan-cosmic being through all nature and universe and the Portrait Enshrinement Hall, where the portraits and memorial tablets of the fallen souls are enshrined and the victims are commemorated, is built by applying the dolmen shape architecture, which is the Korean traditional tomb. The seven Historical squares has the seven representative incidents that show the indomitable spirit of resistance to injustice and oppression in the history of Korea expressed in the form of relief sculptures and the Sungmoru is a two-story building that incorporates an exhibition hall and a theater showing May 18th related movies. The National May 18th Democratic Cemetery is a symbolic monument of the May 18th Uprising. Therefore, it is used as a solemn venue for historical education to ensure that never again injustice and dictatorship will return to this country. Also, it has firmly become a shrine of democracy in the heart of the citizens of the world that yearn for freedom, democracy and justice.