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Arson-hit South Korean landmark reopens to public

Published on May 4, 2013 3:29 PM

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea on Saturday reopened its landmark Namdaemun gate to the public, five years after the historic jewel in central Seoul was burned down in an arson attack that shocked the nation.

The 600-year-old Namdaemun (South Gate), which is listed as "National Treasure Number One," has been painstakingly rebuilt at a cost of US$24 million (S$29.6 million).

The city landmark, also known as Sungryemun, was one of four gates built to protect the city when it was the capital of the Joseon Dynasty, which ruled the Korean peninsula from 1392 until the Japanese occupation in 1910.

"Sungryemun is a symbol of national spirit and identity and the face of the Republic of Korea," President Park Geun Hye said in a speech at the opening ceremony, describing it as a "very happy moment".

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