Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A sad day for Seoul, South Korea

The Lunar New year is celebrated 'big time' in Asia.. and that holiday was celebrated last week on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

In Seoul, there are two main market areas. Namdaeum and Tongdaemun (Dongdaemun is the new spelling) Each of these market areas had a 'gate to the city'.. These gates had two different levels, built of hand carved logs, with intricate paintings on every inch of the exposed wood, and they were over 600 years old. In the city of about 17 million they one of the few apparent signs of the past. I loved the way that they looked sitting in the middle of a modern city of skyscrapers, suddenly right in the middle of all the traffic and city life was an island of grass and the massive gates. Both gates were very similar in appearance.

Here is the one at Tongdaemun (also where the fabric and yarn market is located).. One photo was taken at night right in front of the gate.
The other photos that were taken during the day from the opposite side of the street and I had just taken them on Saturday.

Sunday night, someone climbed up the steps of this enduring beautiful symbol of Seoul's historic past and set it afire. It burned though all the levels to the stone base. Senseless destruction.

http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ *More information can be found at that address.. You might need to look around to find more information from Monday and Tuesday's news reports.

What would cause someone to do such senseless destruction? And, the saddest thing- a man in his 70's has admitted that he set the blaze.


Mandi (a.k.a MissMandiGirl) said...

Such a beautiful structure, A Shame

susanc said...

What a senseless act of violence. I just don't understand what would possess someone to do such a thing. It is very sad. I read about it in the LA Times yesterday and immediately thought about you being there and wondered if you had any pictures of what it looked like before. Thank you for sharing those. It was very beautiful.

iwouldratherbeknitting said...

Yes, and each piece of wood had been hand-carved.. and you can't tell in the photo that I HAVE (of the before) but, each section of exposed wood (even the edges) has a painted design on them..

AND, what was even worse.. apparently 'someone' decided not to respond immediately to the fire.. because they didn't want the 'fire putting out measures' to damage the structure.. what? Fire destroying it is better?

All two layers of the structure was burnt. It looked almost identical to the one that I showed you- maybe the painted designs were different? I don't know but.. that is the way it looked.

A touch of the past in the midst of a modern city of 17million.

Sharly said...

So sad. A precious piece of history gone.

Chris said...

How sad and what a cultural loss...