Monday, 11 February 2008

Korea’s National Treasure No. 1 destroyed by fire

South Korea’s national treasure No. 1 – the Sungnyemun, or more commonly known as Namdaemun, which means South Gate – was set ablaze by an arsonist on Sunday (Feb 10) night!

Rubble: The Namdaemun destroyed by fire

Located in the heart of Seoul, the historic structure that dates back to the Joseon Kingdom, caught fire at around 8.30pm.

About 30 fire trucks and 90 fire fighters were dispatched to the scene to bring the blaze under control. The firemen only stopped work at 10.30pm, but the fire flared up again a few minutes later, spreading quickly beyond control. Fire ate through the structure’s roof, causing it to collapse.

There were no casualties.

A taxi driver (identified only as Lee), who was waiting for customers nearby, told police that he saw a man in his 50s walking up the stairs of the gate with a shopping bag. He then saw a spark like a firework and the man coming down the stairs.

Lee reported the incident to the police and drove around the area to look for the man but could not find him.

Standing tall: A look at the South Gate in the day

Majestic: A night view of Namdaemun

Namdaemun is the oldest wooden structure in Seoul. It was originally built in 1398 and then renovated in 1962 following its destruction during the Korean War. It was given the status of National Treasure No. 1.

Source: The Korea Times & Digital Chosunilbo
Pics credit: Digital Chosunilbo, COSM & squareHE

Digg this story Add to your del.icio.us account del.icio.us


If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our K-popped! Feed

18 Comments:

jo-e said...

omg !! all the expensive treasure and important things are inside there right? is it burnt by someone or some accident happen with the electric or whatever...gosh hope not all the things are burnt....

Orchid said...

oh dear. this is such sad news. ever since i saw night pictures of The Namdaemun on The Daily Kimchi Namdaemun & City Hall at night i really wanted to visit the place.

i hope they are able to restore and rebuild it.

who? said...

oh man, what a pity. i wonder who's the arsonist and what the heck is his motive. somehow i dont know how could a korean do that.

looking at the pictures before, it looks really beautiful. it's a real pity. i wonder to what level will this crime be on the cop's list. after all, it's 'national treasure no. 1'.

blinkable said...

Oh wow very amazing buildings and architectures <33

Why would someone attacked this? O_o Yea hope they managed to save and restore the place.

Clammy said...

Ahh man.. I used to hang out around there all the time as a kid! More specifically, an arcade (the shopping kind) around there.

Liz said...

News as at KBS World

The government has decided to restore the Sungnyemun city gate to its original form after the Joseon Dynasty landmark was destroyed by fire Sunday night.

Deputy Administrator Lee Seong-won of the Cultural Heritage Administration visited the remains of the gate on Monday. He told reporters his agency will lead restoration efforts based on records of repair work done in the 1960s.

Lee pledged to use as much of the remaining materials as possible. In addition, walls on both sides of the gate will be restored to their original form, as they had been altered during Japanese colonial rule. The agency will launch an advisory committee comprising cultural and fire safety experts to study restoration plans.

Lee added the restoration will take about three years and cost 20 billion won, or over 21 million dollars.

Meanwhile, a government emergency meeting led by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo decided to carry out a thorough probe into the cause of the fire. The government will also consult experts to restore the gate to its former glory as soon as possible.

kpop_rub said...

oh wow sounds like it will be back and better than ever- a few years and millions of dollars from now..

Cio said...

thats so sad, it used to be so beautiful...

21 million dollars wow :D

Liz said...

Three years to restore? Man, if we ever make it to Korea before 2011, we'll have to cross Namdaemun off our list?

Danny Foo said...

That arsonist must have had a bone to pick with the past emperor or relative. Burning down a building like that won't get him fame or fortune. Best visit as many historical relics as you can before more crazy people turn up.

Anonymous said...

so weird...two huge fires within a week. first London's Camden Market, now this...

kpop_rub said...

Things are just gonna have to start all being built out of brick, metal, or foam... With all these fire bugs buzzing around ready pounce on any wood made structures they see!

sasjo said...

I hope they find the guy and strap fireworks on him and set them off as they drop him from a plane 50,000 feet in the air.

vrosemarie said...

What kind of crazy psycho person would do this??? Someone must really hate that building...

Sunara said...

Namdaemun is a Fengshui significant area of Seoul. Officially known as Sungnyemun, it has a tablet that is written vertically in Hanja instead of horizontally. The idea was to counter the fengshui of Mt. Gwanak which is believed to be a 'fire' mountain.

According to Taoistic theories of yin and yang and the five elements, Sungnyemun indicates fire, which is from the harmony of the five elements and if written vertically, the Chinese character looks like a fiercer fire that would provide protection.

But it seems the 'fire' of Mt Gwanak managed to overcome Namdaemun this year and coincidentally, the south is the unluckiest area of the year governed by Three Killings.

who? said...

the arsonist was caught. it was a 70-something year old man. dang.

ladida said...

what's done is done. I just hope his action/crime will not put his children & grandchildren (if he has any) in harm's way. This was his own doing. His kids should not be punished by the locals due this one man's act.

Orchid said...

Sunara, thanks...where did you get that interesting piece of folklore?

 

© Blogger Templates| Webtalks | Copyright © 2007-2009 K-popped! Some rights reserved | Powered by Blogger