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

User Review
0 (0 votes)


  1. Orchid February 13, 2008
  2. ladida February 13, 2008
  3. who? February 12, 2008
  4. Sunara February 12, 2008
  5. vrosemarie February 12, 2008
  6. sasjo February 12, 2008
  7. kpop_rub February 12, 2008
  8. Anonymous February 11, 2008
  9. Danny Foo February 11, 2008
  10. Liz February 11, 2008
  11. Cio February 11, 2008
  12. kpop_rub February 11, 2008
  13. Liz February 11, 2008
  14. Clammy February 11, 2008
  15. blinkable February 11, 2008
  16. who? February 11, 2008
  17. Orchid February 11, 2008
  18. jo-e February 11, 2008

Add Comment