After nearly five years, the newly restored Sungnyemun, the historic gate in downtown Seoul, is expected to officially open to the public in April, the government said Monday.
The Cultural Heritage Administration on Monday said that it would open the Sungnyemun site, which is now receiving the final touches before the unveiling to the press Thursday. The National Treasure No. 1 was damaged in an arson attack on Feb. 10, 2008, by an elderly man who was later revealed to be suffering from a mental illness.
|Sungnyemun, National Treasure No. 1, is shown undergoing the final restoration process on Monday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
The 24.7 billion won project to restore the gate originally built in 1396 as the south gate of Seoul, involved 15,000 people including scores of historians, field experts and thousands of workers working for more than 1,700 days. This is the fourth time the structure has been repaired or restored, the others being in 1447, 1479 and 1961.
“We have reused some of the materials from the original building. Those that are not ‘recyclable’ will be exhibited. The restoration was conducted in a traditional way to deliver the original atmosphere of the building,” said professor Park Eon-kon of Hongik University, who headed the advisory group for the project.
The new Sungnyemun will be monitored around the clock for any possible accidents by the CHA.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org