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Sunday, 17 February 2013

The Site of Donuimun a.k.a Seodaemun

Nobuna Oda, the Six Path Demon Queen descends at Donuimun!
Donuimun (Hangul 돈의문, Hanja 敦義門; also known as West Gate) was 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’s historical location is also known as Seodaemun (서대문/西大門, “West Big Gate”). The gate is located at Pyeongdong, Seoul Jongno-gu, even though it intersects with the other precincts in Seoul Jung-gu: Chungjeongno 1-ga and Jeongdong.

Donuimun was originally built in 1396. It was burned as a result of the Imjin Invasion (1592-1598) by Japan, but was rebuilt in 1711. In 1915, the gate was again destroyed during the Japanese colonial period. The gate was photographed at various times before its destruction, most notably by in a series of photographs taken by Presbyterian missionary Horace Grant Underwood in 1904. Some of these photographs show the tracks of an "American Electric Tramway" running through the gate. The name Donuimun means literally "“Loyalty Gate." It was one of the Four Great Gates (사대문) in the Fortress Wall of Seoul.

Donuimun no longer exists today (July 2012). In 2009, The Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that the city of Seoul had announced a plan to rebuild the gate by 2013 and expand sections of the historical Fortress Wall in which it was located, but those plans have yet to be realized (July 2012). Visitors to the site of the former gate today will find a memorial in its place.