Namdaemun is located in the heart of Seoul and is an area with a mix of old and new. There is the historic Namdaemun Gate, used to protect the city from Koreantigers, which have long been gone from the area. Currently, a mall stands there and many market stalls are kept there.
Namdaemun was originally called Sungnyemun. The title Namdaemun originated because it was the southern gate of the original walls surrounding Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. Namdaemun is currently the oldest wood-built structure remaining in Seoul. The construction of this gate began in 1395 during the fourth year of the reign of King Taejo of Joseon and was finished in 1398. The remaining structure went through renovation during the reign of King Sejong (1447) and the tenth year of the reign of King Seongjong (1479).
Namdaemun was given the status of 'National Treasure No.1' on December 20, 1962.
Named for its nearby namesake of Namdaemun (Great South Gate) and located near the downtown area, one of Korea's largest wholesale markets covers over 10 acres.
Although many of Namdaemun's shops are within the buildings that make up the area, the most colorful aspect of the market is the group of street vendors that setup in the alleys and walkways between the buildings.
Wholesalers operate from midnight to 6:00 a.m., and retailers are open from 7:00 a.m.
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