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Friday, 21 February 2014

Inside Gyeonghuigung, Part IV: Heunghwamun Gate


Heunghwamun (Hanja: 興化門) was the main gate of Gyeonghui Palace. Originally, it was situated just next to the current Salvation Army Center, facing the direction of Jongno Avenue. When the adjacent road was expanded in 1915, the gate was sold and installed as the main gate of Bangmunsa/박문사 (now the site of the Shilla Hotel Seoul), a shrine dedicated to Ito Hirobumi, the Japanese resident-general who was killed by Thomas Ahn Jung-geun for the sake of Korean independence. In 1932, the Japanese removed this gate from its original site in order to use it as the front gate for Bangmunsa. Heunghwamun was restored and moved to the current site in 1985.

There are four gates surround this main gate which are HeungWonmun (흥원문/興元門) on the left, Gaeyangmun (개양문/開陽門) on the right, Sunguimun (숭의문/崇義門) on the far West and Mudeongmun (무덕문/武德門) on the North. Unfortunately, these gates were destroyed during the Japanese Colonization Period (1910~1945) and Seoul Metropolitan Government was able to reconstruct 33% of the former Palace's to the original state due to urbanization of Seoul City and decades of neglect.