Sungnyemun Gate Trail
Excursions Along The Wall
Sungnyemun Gate Trail
- Baekbeom Square ~ Site of Donuimun Gate
- Distance: 1.8km / Away: About 1 hour
Sungnyemun Gate Trail
Section : Baekbeom Square ~ Site of Donuimun Gate
Distance : 1.8km
Away : About 1 hour
Wall Destruction with Modernization: Sungnyemun Gate Section
Sungnyemun Section starts at Baekbeom Square, passes Sungnyemun and continues as far as the Site of Donuimun. Sungnyemun was the main entrance into the capital and, being in the south wall, was the closest to the Hangang River, and thus most of the people and goods going to the capital passed through this gate. Commercial activities flourished in late Joseon, and Chilpae Market was established just outside this gate, while just inside the gate the Morning Market was established in front of the Tribute Bureau warehouse. Chilpae Market became one of the three major markets in the capital, along with those at Jongnu and Ihyeon. The Morning Market evolved into today’s Namdaemun Market. A commercial treaty was concluded with Japan in 1876, followed by similar treaties with various Western powers, and Seoul became open to outsiders. The legations and housing for diplomatic officials of Western countries were concentrated in Jeong-dong area, near the South Gate, as were the churches and schools established by Western missionaries.
The first streetcar lines went into service in the capital in 1899, rendering the original function of Sungnyemun obsolete, and the wall sections on each side of Sungnyemun were removed in 1907 to improve the traffic flow. Thereafter, more of the wall was demolished when new buildings were constructed in the area the gate, making it difficult to find any traces of the old wall. Only two sites remain in this section were such remnants can be recovered. The lower part of the original wall remains along the alley that runs from the Korea Chamber Of Commerce & Industry to the Olive Tower, and the base of a fifty-meter wall section at Changdeok Girls’ Middle School comes from the old wall as well.
• Remember: Excursions along Sungnyemun section require some information in advance, given the difficulty in following the course of original Hanyangdoseong.
[Jeongdong-gil] ❶❷ City Hall Station Exit 10→ 5 minute on foot
[Deoksugung] ❶❷ City Hall Station Exit 2→ 1 minute on foot
[Sungnyemun] Gyeongui Line · Airport Line · ❶❹ Seoul Station Exit 4→ 5 minutes on foot
[Namdaemun Market] ❹ Hoehyeon Station Exit 5→ 1 minute on foot
Section main points
- Sungnyemun, also known as Namdaemun (South Gate), is the main gate of Hanyangdoseong. Construction of the gate started in 1395 and ended in 1398, although it was rebuilt on two occasions in 1448 and 1479. Although the right and left sides of the wall were demolished in 1907, the gate itself remained as a cultural heritage. Sadly, in February 2008, the wooden structure on the second floor of the gate tower was burned down by fire, and was not fully restored until May 2013. In addition, an 83m-long section of wall connecting to both sides of Sungnyemun was restored at this time.
- • Opening Hours : Sungnyemun - Open all year round (but closed every Monday), Opening hours : 09:00~18:00
Summer (June ~ Aug.) 09:00~18:30 / Winter (Nov. ~ Feb.) 09:00~17:30
Namdaemun Market and Chilpae Market
Namdaemun Market was opened in January 1897 as the first permanent urban market in Korea. The Sangpyeongchang (responsible for regulating prices) was originally located here during the early Joseon, and with the enforcement of the Law of Uniform Land Tax in the 17th century, the Tribute Bureau was established here. Then, in 1894, when the decision was made to collect tax payments in money, and there was no longer any need to store rice tributes, this area of the Seonhyecheong Warehouse was given over to merchants for use as a market place.
Site of Souimun Gate
Souimun is located southwest of Hanyangdoseong. It was originally built in 1396 as Sodeokmun, but was renamed Souimun in 1744. Funeral biers passed beyond the wall via this gate and Gwanghuimun. However, the gate was demolished in 1914, and only the stone marker with the name “Souimun” remains.
Former Russian Legation
Former Russian Legation is a Renaissance-style building constructed in the 27th year of the reign of Emperor Gojong (1890). Gojong took refuge there for one year from February 1896 following the assassination of Queen Myeongseong by Japanese soldiers (Incident of the Year Eulmi, 1895). During the Korean War, all of the building was destroyed, except for the tower. It was rebuilt in 1973, and two more restoration projects were conducted in 2007 and 2010.
Chungdong First Methodist Church
Chungdong Church was established by an American missionary named Henry Appenzeller. Built between 1895 and 1897, this gothic-style red-brick structure was Korea’s first Methodist church, and served as a channel for the introduction of American culture and civilization to Korea during the period of enlightenment.
Simpson Memorial Hall at Ewha Girls' High School
The Simpson Memorial Hall, which was built in 1915, is currently used as the Ewha Museum. The Ewha Hakdang (original name of Ewha Girls' High School) was founded by American missionary Marry Scranton as Korea’s first educational establishment for girls or women. The school grounds house numerous monuments including the site of the well where Yu Gwansun (patriot killed in the March First Independence Movement in 1919) used to wash her clothes, a memorial stone for the “cradle of new education for Korean women,” the Yu Gwansun Statue, and a stone sign marking the site of the Sontak Hotel.