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Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sukjeongmun a.k.a. Bukdaemun


Sukjeongmun (Hangul: 숙정문/Hanja: 肅靖門; also known as North Gate) is one of the The Eight Cardinal Gates of Seoul in the Hanyang Fortress a.k.a Fortress Wall of Seoul (Hangul: 서울 한양도성 a.k.a 서울성곽/Hanja: 서울漢陽都城 a.k.a 서울城郭), South Korea, which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty. Located at Samcheong-dong san 2-1 Beonji, Seoul Jongno-gu, the gate is also known as Bukdaemun (북대문, “Northern Great Gate”).

Sukjeongmun was originally built in 1396, and was originally called Sukcheongmun (숙청문/肅淸門), but its name was modified slightly to its current name (肅靖門) in the early 16th century. Being situated so close to the Royal Palace of the Joseon Dynasty, it was rarely used for receiving visitors, and had more of a ceremonious function. The original wooden gatehouse over the gate was destroyed by fire, and the current gatehouse dates from 1976.

The name Sukjeongmun means literally “Rule Solemnly Gate.” It is one of the Four Great Gates (사대문) in the Fortress Wall of Seoul.

After the infiltration of North Korean agents during the Blue House Raid in 1968, both the gate and the surrounding area were closed off for security reasons. They were opened again for public touring by 2007. However, the area is still a highly secured area, patrolled by South Korean Army soldiers. Visiting Sukjeongmun today requires identification and issuing of a pass. Pictures of army soldiers or pictures facing south (toward the Presidential residence) are prohibited at the gate or while hiking along the northern portion of the Fortress Wall.