July 21, 2022 13:30
Seoul's historic Changgyeong Palace and Jongmyo Shrine have been connected again for the first time since they were severed by the Japanese occupiers 90 years ago.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday said, "The restoration project that began in 2010 is complete and the public will be able to visit again starting Friday."
The Japanese colonial government had cut a road through the palace and shrine in 1932. Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine that honors Korea's past kings and queens and was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995.
A Seoul city official said, "According to Feng Shui, the main energy flowed from Mt. Bukhan to Changgyeong Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, but that was severed by the construction of the road."
Now the road separating the two historic sites tunnels under a newly created 8,000 sq.m green area with 760 new trees to restore the connection between worldly and spiritual power.
The city even rebuilt the 503-m Jongmyo wall using 45,000 stones including 9,000 from the old wall discovered during the restoration. Kim Jae-myoung at KCI, which handled the construction project, said, "We accurately recreated even the exact height of the wall."
Ha Hyun-seok at the Seoul city government, said, "The ultimate goal was to restore the space that had been severed by the Japanese and open the space to the public."
The reconnection creates a walking route through the heart of downtown Seoul from Gwanghwamun to Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Changgyeong palaces and Dongdaemun.
The project took about 12 years to complete and cost W100.8 billion (US$1=W1,313).
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