Catholic Execution Site at Gwandeokjeong Pavilion

published by Devon Furbush

Gwangdeokjeong Pavilion now stands on top of a Catholic church, but going back as far as 200 years, there lies a dark bloody history. The location lies right outside where Daegu eup-seong fortress’s south gate used to be. It was here where the provincial governor was responsible for supervising military training, and soldiers took their military service exams. From 1815 to 1868, this church also moonlighted as an execution site. Catholic criminals who were imprisoned at the provincial government building were sent here to be silenced. 

When the Gyeongsang provincial government office was established in Daegu in 1601, it included a prison as well; it was called ‘okgol’, or ‘okmadang’. In 1815, 71 people were arrested in multiple locations including Jinbomeoru Mountain and Cheongsong Norae Mountain. Among them, 33 were sent to the Gyeongsang office to stand trial, and according to records, 14 were thrown in prison. 7 of them died in custody and the remaining 7 were sent here to be beheaded on November 1, 1816.

In 1827, 31 more sinners were arrested. 25 of them were ultimately released while 3 died in prison and the remaining 3 were martyred at Gwangdeokjeong Pavilion on April 14th of the same year. While the martyrs rejoiced in brotherhood and prayed in agony and torture, they showed no signs of hatred towards the prison guards and tried to breathe joy into the people around them.

First used in 1866, this stone (called the hwangsae rock) was known as the silent killer to Catholicism. The executioner put a rope through the hole then tied it around the victim's neck. Then as the rope was pulled, it would suffocate and/or decapitate the victim.

Address: 11 Gwandeokjeong-gil, Jung-gu, Daegu

Gosangol Dinosaur Park
Mabijeong Mural Village

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