Sukjeongmun, front of gate, viewed from the north, June 2012.
Sukjeongmun (Hangul: 숙정문; Hanja: 肅靖門; also known as North Gate) is one of the Eight Gates of Seoul in the Fortress Wall of Seoul, South Korea, which surrounded the city in the Joseon Dynasty. The gate is also known as Bukdaemun (북대문; 北大門, “North Big Gate”). It was built north of Seoul behind Gyeongbokgung Place. It was rarely used. It was only used in ceremonious and symbolic functions. To access it requires identification like passport.
Sukjeongmun was originally built in 1396, and was originally called Sukcheongmun (肅淸門), but its name was modified slightly to its current name (肅靖門) in the early 16th century. Being situated so close to the Royal Palace of the Joseon Dynasty, it was rarely used for receiving visitors, and had more of a ceremonious function. The original wooden gatehouse over the gate was destroyed by fire, and the current gatehouse dates from 1976.
The name Sukjeongmun means literally “Rule Solemnly Gate.” It is one of the Four Great Gates (사대문) in the Fortress Wall of Seoul.
The Gate today
After the infiltration of North Korean agents during the Blue House Raid in 1968, both the gate and the surrounding area were closed off for security reasons. They were opened again for public touring by 2007. However, the area is still a highly secured area, patrolled by South Korean Army soldiers. Visiting Sukjeongmun today (2012) requires identification and issuing of a pass. Pictures of army soldiers or pictures facing south (toward the Presidential residence) are not allowed at the gate or while hiking along the northern portion of the Fortress Wall.
viewed from the north, showing incorporation into the Fortress Wall