In a new international milieu where traditions of the East coalesced with modernization imposed from the West, Wongudan was founded as a visual symbol of the Daehan Empire`s efforts to reestablish the nation`s image as an independent country and imperial body. In its design, Wongudan was essentially an altar in line with the traditional cosmology and political philosophy deeply rooted in East Asia. Yet its reestablishment by King Gojong was a statement of challenging the existing world view that placed China in the center and Korea in a marginal area. Traditionally the rulers of the Joseon dynasty was content with the title “king” in a nominal acknowledgement of the sovereignly of Chinese emperors, who were only entitled to communicate directly with heaven. In the late nineteenth century, however, in an attempt to achieve the political status of the dynasty elevated to a modern sovereign state, King Gojong declared himself “Emperor” and performed a series of ceremonies which had been allowed only for Chineseemperors. Thus, Wongudan may well remembered as a visual monument that commemorates the Daehan Empire`s gaining the fully independent status in the world order. Wongudan visually embodies the traditional idea in East Asia that the earth is square and the heaven is round. Its structure consists of round steps and a square fence. In its north was placed Hwanggungu, an octagonal three-story pavilion for rituals to worship the heaven, earth, and ancestors. It also incorporates ideas from the Buddhist octagonal hall, the residence of gods, and the auspicious diagrams of the Taegeukgi, Korean national flag, which symbolizes the principle circulation of the universe. By effectively representing visually the East Asian understanding of the world view and the newly-gained consciousness of independency, the Daehan Empire attempted to project its image as a modem state to the Western world.