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Busan – A Visit to the UN Memorial Hall

Busan’s UN Memorial Hall – remembering the fallen of the Korean War

Busan is an interesting city which I’ve been visiting during weekends and I have enjoyed it every time. While most people know Busan for its beaches, it also has a good few museums and sites related to the Korean War. A few weeks back, I paid a visit to the UN Cemetery and I found it quite a moving experience.

Mistaken for Uzbek on the Busan Metro

I’d like to share this experience I had on the way back from my visit. While sitting on the metro train, I heard a few lads speaking a language that was similar to Turkish. One of them looked at me like I was his long lost brother and I was quite confused. He then then asked me in English where I am from and according to him, I look Uzbek.

I found this quite amusing as I never thought of myself as looking Central Asian. My appearance makes me blend in a lot of countries. People have thought that I look Bosnian, Serbian, Argentinian, Romanian – you name it. Looking Uzbek is definitely a new one. Moreover, Uzbekistan is definitely a country I want to visit in the future and I am sure passing for Uzbek will come in handy.

How to get to the UN Memorial Hall in Busan

The UN memorial hall is located about a 5 minute walk from the UN cemetery. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the Daeyeon metro station and is quite easy to spot once you see it. Moreover, it’s a very easy building to spot as you will see a line of the flags.

What is the UN Memorial Hall?

Visiting the UN Memorial is completely free of charge which is great if you’re a backpacker. While the nearby Cemetary doesn’t have too much information to explain the Korean War. The UN Memorial Hall is essentially a museum and it explains the whole context of the Korean War.

Its exhibits also have translations in English and the presentation of the museum is very good. It’s a great place to learn about the Korean War and how it started. They even have one of Douglas MacArthur’s pipes which he was famous for smoking. It also explains different events of the war and how it came to an armistice in 1953. The ground fighting became brutal for both sides, especially when the winters had soldiers fighting in freezing conditions.

The declaration of war
A recreation of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir

Army Uniforms on Display

A really interesting part of this museum is there’s a part which features the uniforms of the different armies from the Korean War. It explains the different roles which the countries contributed. The UK sent tens of thousands of soldiers to fight in the war and it’s interesting to see the British uniform there. It was also interesting to see the uniforms and stuff from other countries like Denmark and South Africa. These countries provided roles such as providing medical supplies and air support.

The UN Exhibit

The museum also contains an exhibit about the purposes of the United Nations. It gives a brief history of how it was created after the Second World War. Much to my surprise, it doesn’t have any stuff related to the Yugoslav Wars in the 90s and it gives a very rose-tinted version of what the UN actually is.

Big up Boutros Boutros Boutros-Ghali – Ali G

The exhibit explains about how the UN works to resolve a lot of modern conflicts, such as the most recent one in Syria. It shows how the UN provides aid for lives who have been ruined by war and it’s quite sad to see. When you turn on the news these days it feels like war has become much more brutal and almost nothing meaningful is done about it. Moreover, the exhibit explains how the UN works to resolve issues of kids who are dragged into war and the humanitarian aid that’s carried out.

Is it Worth a visit?

The UN Memorial hall is definitely worth a visit, especially considering that it’s a free museum. I would say it’s a good idea to pay a visit after going to the UN Cemetery. If you want to learn about the Korean War, this place gives you a good understanding of how the conflict started and the events that shaped it. Furthermore, I’d say a visit only takes just over an hour to take everything in.

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