Namdaemun (Seoul, South Korea, 14th c.)

Namdaemun (Seoul, South Korea, 14th c.)

Designated as the first National Treasure of South Korea, the Namdaemun was one of the major gateways of Seoul's Medieval city walls.

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Keywords

Namdaemun, fortress, defensive wall, main gate, gate, Seoul, Korea, South Korea, monument, architecture, building, East, fortification, soldier, Middle Ages, history of art, 14th century

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  • - Measuring about 18 km (11.18 mi) in length and 6 m (19.69 ft) in height, it surrounded 14th-century Seoul (known as Hanyang at that time).

Narration

In the Middle Ages, Seoul, now the capital of South Korea, was surrounded by a fortress wall. It measured about 18 km (11.18 mi) in length and 6 m (19.69 ft) in height.

There were several gateways built along the length, the most important of which was the Namdaemun, the Great Southern Gate, officially called Sungnyemun. It is the largest gate in the history of the country.

The gate structure has a two-tiered, tiled wooden roof, with a shape similar to a pagoda. The four corners of the roof have hip rafters attached to them.

Like other important gateways and palaces, the Namdaemun was defended by well-trained guards. They wore a special colorful uniform and carried a special ax with a crescent-shaped blade, a sword and a bow.

Before a devastating fire in 2008, the Namdaemun was the oldest wooden structure in Seoul. Since then it has been rebuilt to its original form. This grand piece of art has been designated as South Korea's National Treasure number 1.

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