Seoul City to Restore Ancient West Gate

The Donuimun before demolition in 1915 /Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government The Donuimun before demolition in 1915 /Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

Seoul's ancient western gate or Seodaemun will be restored at its original location by 2013, 98 years after it was demolished by the Japanese during the occupation, the city said Wednesday. Of the four main gates of the fortress wall surrounding the capital during the Chosun period, it remains the last one to be restored.

The city plans to restore the gate at its original site at the Jeong-dong intersection by consulting maps from the Chosun era to the present and conducting a surface survey and excavation.

Erected in 1396, the Seodaemun, officially called Donuimun, was burned down during the Japanese invasions in the late 16th century and rebuilt in 1711. In 1915, the government-general removed the gate to construct tramlines.

The city also plans to restore seven sections spanning 2,175 m of the Seoul fortress wall by 2013, including the Mt. Inwang section (835 m), the Mt. Nam section (753 m), and near the site of the former Dongdaemun Stadium (263 m). On 48 spots (1,092 m) disconnected by roads, traces of the fortress wall will be marked on the roads, or fortress-wall shaped overpasses installed. For the rest, privately owned properties will be purchased for the restoration of the historic wall.

When the restoration is complete in 2013, the city hopes to register it along with the Mt. Bukhan Fortress as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Mayor Oh Se-hoon said.

An artists impression of the restored Donuimun /Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government An artist's impression of the restored Donuimun /Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government
englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 22, 2009 12:34 KST