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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Incheon Protectorate Office, Incheon Nam-gu: A protectorate office which is located near to Incheon-Munhak


Although the exact building date of Incheon Protectorate Office (Hanja/Romanization: 仁川都護府廳舍/Incheon-dohobu Cheongsa) at 589 Maesohol Avenue/Maesohollo, Munhak-dong 349-2 beonji, Incheon Nam-gu is unknown, the 'Incheon Buseunghogi' by Gang Hui-maeng records that the building existed in the 2nd year of King Sejong's reign (1420). 

Accordingly, it is estimated that the building was built during the early Joseon period. However, it is difficult to believe that the current building was included in those structures that were built during the early Joseon Dynasty. In consideration that the tablet reading "16th Year of Ganghui (3rd year (1677) of King Sukjong's reign) was found under the tiles of a guest house, the building must be renovated. 

It was promoted to being Incheon Dohobu in 1460 (6th year of King Sejo's reign) because it was used as the women's quarters for the Queen Soheon of Cheongsong Shim (wife of King Sejong), mother of King Sejo. According to the 'Incheonbueupji', Incheondohobucheonsa was originally comprised of 15 to 16 buildings including guesthouse, Dongheon, Naedongheon, Sammun, Saryeongcheong, Hyangcheong, Gungwancheong, Hunmudang, Prison, Oeyonggo and Gungicheong. Now, only a part of the guesthouse, a main office building (Dongheon) built during the early 19th century and a warehouse built far later than that remain. 

Current buildings were renovated as part of the cultural properties renovation projects. The construction took 4 years and cost 2.6 billion won. The new buildings have been opened to the public, free of charge since October 14, 2001. Although the exact building date of the Incheondohobucheongsa was unknown, it is estimated that the guesthouse was renovated in 1677 according to the [inscription] found on the roof tile. This inscription was written by Gang Hui-maeng. The building was moved and established on the current site along with Dongheon when the Munhak Elementary School was built in 1950. For this reason, the layout and shape of the original buildings cannot be identified. 

It was known that the guesthouse was originally about 30m long, but the Ingnangchae on both sides was destroyed. At present, only a central part of the building, 5.4m on the front and 3.6m on the side, remains with the gable roof. The Dongheon, which is a round beam building with a gable roof, has a single-eaves roof that does not have tilted eaves attached to the edges of rafters: a unique structure for the official buildings of that time. Furthermore, it uses square pillars instead of round pillars.