Sunday, 15 August 2010

Open The Gwanghwamun!

“Jonesy… the gate!”

Those were Norma Desmond’s words when she wanted to enter the Paramount Studios. Not exactly the words of the Joseon dynasty king when he wanted to enter or leave his palace.

And after four years of restoration, finally today, August 15, 2010, on the 65th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from the Japanese colonization, everyone in Seoul can say just that: Open the Gwanghwamun!

The Gwanhwamun was built in 1395 during the Joseon dynasty, by the way, as the gate of the Gyeongbok Palace. (‘Mun’ means ‘gate’).

I have yet to see the newly restored gate yet. And I’m not planning to soon as the summer temperatures are not that enjoyable during the day. Perhaps, in the early autumn, I would.

In the meantime, here are the photos I took of the covered Gwanghwamun last year while it was still under the restoration.

I stood there, staring at the orange mosaic cover, expecting it to come down and expose the fully restored gate while I was there that day. Instead, I saw a traffic of colored city buses passing. (And smelled their exhaust fumes during the process).

The next time I stand there, I’m sure I will see the Gwanghwamun, in its full splendor, just like what the Joseon king saw for himself when he commanded.…

“Open the Gwanghwamun!”

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