During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Jeju Mok-Gwan-a was the seat of local government. Today, this complex includes Gwan-deok-jung and is spread out over the surrounding area. Even from long ago, this location had been the site of government buildings such as Seong-joo Cheong, the seal of the Tamra Kingdom government.
In 1434, the 16th year of King Sejong the Great’s reign, the government offices burned down completely, resulting in a historic rebuilding effort. In 1435, the foundation for the new compound was built, and Jeju Mok-Gwan-a continued to expand and be renovated throughout the Joeon Dynasty period. During the Japanese Colonial Occupation, however, Japan systematically dismantled Jeju Mok-Gwan-a, leaving little trace of its former glory, with only Gwan-deok-jung remaining.
Jeju Mok-Gwan-a in Jeju city had been the political, administrative, and cultural center of Jeju since the Tamra Kingdom era up to the Joseon Dynasty period. In order to restore the Mok-Gwan-a, from 1991-1998 excavations were carried out in 4 stages. The excavations uncovered Hong-hwa Hall, Yeon-hee Hall, Woo-ryun Pavilion, and Gyullim Pavilion, all of which were famous cultural centers referred to in historical documents. In addition, various artifacts were discovered in the area, including ancient building scaffolds.
As a result, Jeju Mok-Gwan-a was designated as National Historic Monument No. 380 in 1993. Once the cornerstone and foundation stones were recovered, restoration work began by analyzing historical pictures such as the “Tamra Inspection Tour” and “General Survey of Tamra”, looking at historical documents from the period, consulting with experts from the Cultural Heritage Administration and local history scholars, and creating a blueprint for restoration work. This project was even more meaningful because it helped establish Jeju’s identity. Jeju’s 300,000 Citizens put their hearts and souls into the restoration plan, as evidenced by the 50,000 ceramic roof tiles which were donated for the project’s completion.
Working hand-in-hand, the people and government began full-scale restoration work in 1999, towards the close of the 20th century. Work was completed in the new millenium in 2002.