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Dongdaemun Market and Gate

Once the easternmost of four main gates to the capital city, Seoul, the Dongdaemun Gate functions today as a tourist attraction and an iconic beacon for shoppers seeking the wares available at the nearby market and shopping complexes.

There have been imposing structures serving as gates on the site as far back as 1396. The current structure was built by King Gojong in 1869. The gate and connecting city wall weren't built for ornamental purposes only, as the lowland site of the main palace wasn't easy to defend from invaders. This is not to say that the structure is anything less than handsome. Despite the varying hues of stone used during numerous renovations over the years, the gate's facade is imposing. Joseon Period Japsang statues of animals adorn the eaves in an attempt to ward off evil spirits. Whether they are effective or not is questionable, but their aesthetic value is considerable. Guided tours of the structure and surrounding area come highly recommended.

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