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Changuimun (Hangul 창의문, Hanja 彰義門; also known as Northwest Gate) is one of the Eight Cardinal Gates of Seoul in the Fortress Wall of Seoul, South Korea, which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty. The gate is also known as Buksomun (북소문/北小門, “North Small Gate”) and Jahamun (자하문/紫霞門).
Changuimun was originally built in 1396. Along with Hyehwamun (the Northeast Gate), Changuimun served as a major portal for those exiting the walled city of Seoul, then known as Hanyang (한양 , 漢陽) to travel north. (Sukjeongmun, the North Gate, had a largely ceremonious function.) The wooden gatehouse above Changuimun was burned down during the Imjin Invasion by Japan (1592-1598), but was rebuilt in 1740 or 1741. The gatehouse is currently the oldest gatehouse of those on the “Four Small Gates” (사소문) in the Fortress Wall of Seoul. The name Changuimun means literally “Showing the Correct Thing Gate.”
Changuimun is located in Cheongun-dong san 4-11 beonji, Seoul Jongno-gu. It can be accessed easily via taking Seoul Metro Line 1 to Station 131: Jonggak Station exit 3, then taking bus 7022 at Jeil Bank, and getting off at Jahamun Tunnel. Visitors to the gate today are allowed access to the front and the back of the gate, and under the gate itself. Visitors may also carefully view the wooden gatehouse above the gate, but are not allowed inside, and should not approach too closely due to a laser alarm system. If approaching the gate from the west, visitors notice there is a gate-like tunnel leading up to the gate itself.
The gate is known for being in a very early state of preservation, compared with the rest of the Eight Gates of Seoul.
The wooden rafters on the interior of the gate are decorated with chickens, which were known as enemies of the centipede. This is in contrast to Hyehwamun, whose rafters are decorated with the phoenix, enemies of small birds.
Very close to Changuimun are memorials to two people who lost their lives defending South Korea during the Blue House Raid on January 21, 1968: Superintendent General Choi Gyu-sik; and the Assistant Inspector Officer, Jung Jong-su.