Seoul City Wall as UNESCO Heritage Site
Connecting All 18,627km-long Sections of Seoul City Wall through Diverse Methods
SMG announced “Master Plan for the Preservation, Management, and Utilization of Seoul City Wall” on May 7th, not only to repair the existing sites but also to promote Seoul City Wall as a world heritage site for global citizens.
The repair of Seoul City Wall began in 1975. Currently, three gates including Sukjeongmun, Gwanghuimun, and Hyehwamun and 12.3km out of total 18.6km of the site have been restored. At present, Mt. Inwangsan (213m), Mt. Namsan (753m), and Sungnyemun (83m) are in the process of restoration, while the official mayor residence (86m) and the north of Heunginjimun (21m) are soon to be repaired. As such, the city plans to connect all sections of Seoul City Wall through wall restoration or imaging method until 2015.
The nine sections such as Hyehwamun, Changuimun, official mayor residence, and Heunginjimun retain walls on both sides of roads. In these sections, the roads run below the walls, therefore making connecting the upper parts of each wall possible through imaging method with the assistance of expert consulting. The 36 sections including Gwanghuimun, and Jangchung Gymnasium have only traces of walls with no significant height differences between the walls and roads. Therefore SMG will line the roads with granite to mark the location of the walls through imaging method.
On the other hand, any remnants of the wall in 4-km-long sections including Seosomun, Jangchung-dong, Jeong-dong have been obliterated by buildings and private properties. In this case, signs that indicate the walls will be installed along what is estimated as sites of the walls. Also, through discussion with Cultural Heritage Foundation, the city plans to gradually purchase 4,001m of private properties such as Jangchung-dong, Hyehwa-dong, Hongpa-dong, and Jeong-dong and make efforts to preserve and restore the remaining walls.
Cultural Heritage Value of Seoul City Wall
The restoration projects so far aimed to heal the traumatic experience of cultural heritage destruction during the Japanese occupation and city development. Against this backdrop, this master plan can be differentiated from previous restoration projects as its purpose is not only to restore the sites but also to create sustainable preservation and management system befitting the status of world cultural heritage. The city plans to create detailed management and restoration standards, utilization methods, accessibility and improvement responses based on comprehensive analysis of factors influencing preservation of the city walls, current management status of the site and existing trails.
To enable systematic management and operation of Seoul City Wall, Seoul City Wall Division(or Hanyang Doseong Dogam), a department in charge of the site, will be created in the second half of the year. The chief of the division will be designated as “Dojejo.” Seoul City Wall museum and research institute will be built on 1,500㎡ site inside Dongdaemun History & Culture Park. “Dogam” in this Division derives from the term used for the departments in charge of important national projects during Goryeo and Joseon dynasties, while Dojejo comes from the identical chief of the department in charge of the city walls during King Sejong era. This naming intends to represent and promote the significance SMG attaches to the preservation and management of Seoul City Walls.
SMG also plans to build cooperation system by organizing Seoul City Wall Advisory Committee comprised of experts and civil societies for systematic preservation and management and review important policies in advance while reflecting citizen ideas in city policy decisions. In order to create the framework for systematic urban management around the city wall, SMG is researching to draft “Basic Plan for Urban Management of History and Culture within Four Major Gates.”
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