Near to Young Nak Presbyterian Church — just across the street, really — is Myeongdong Cathedral, arguably Korea’s most beautiful piece of non-Buddhist religious architecture, the spiritual center of Korea’s Catholic community and a fortress in Korea’s democratization movement.

Unfortunately, the exterior of the cathedral is undergoing a lengthy restoration, which means there was little in the way of photographic material… or at least the kind of stuff I wanted to shoot. I did get some shots of the beautiful red-and-grey brick walls, however:

Myeongdong Cathedral

Myeongdong Cathedral

Myeongdong Cathedral

Then there was this sculpture in front of the Priests’ Hall:

Sculpture, Myeongdong Cathedral

UPDATE

During lunch today, I sneaked into the cathedral to take a couple of inside shots. You’ve got to love the high, rib-vaulted ceiling — very reminiscent of the great cathedrals of Europe (not that I’ve actually seen one of the great cathedrals of Europe, of course):

Interior, Myeongdong Cathedral

Altar, Myeongdong Cathedral

The Archdiocese of Seoul was also kind enough to give me the OK to post these photographs taken Sunday. As you enter the cathedral grounds, you’ll notice a number of very old buildings at the bottom of the hill to the right. They are now used mostly as administrative buildings for the archdiocese of Seoul, although one also contains — from what I understand — the office of Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-Suk, so they don’t let people wander around much down there. Anyway, the security guy let me in briefly to take a couple of shots, which I share with you:

Old Bishop's Residence, Myeongdong Cathedral

This building — the old Bishop’s Residence — might not look like much, but it may very well be Korea’s oldest existent Western-style building. Designed by Father Eugene Coste, it was probably completed in 1890 — see this photo taken in the early 1890s while the cathedral was under construction. The building may have in fact been a testbed for Coste to prove his architectural skills before trying his hand at the cathedral. It is now used as an auditorium and administrative building, and may soon become a museum.

Seoul Archdiocese Office, Myeongdong Cathedral

This building, too, is used as an administrative building by the archdiocese. It’s a beautiful old structure with tons of character. Built in 1927.

Seoul Archdiocese Office, Myeongdong Cathedral

Seoul Archdiocese Office, Myeongdong Cathedral

Seoul Archdiocese Office, Myeongdong Cathedral

Seoul Archdiocese Office, Myeongdong Cathedral

Don’t forget the Flickr slideshow.