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Sungnyemun Gate

Admire the majesty of this towering historic gate and marvel at the stark contrast between this proud symbol of ancient Seoul and its ultra-modern surroundings.

Located in the heart of Seoul, Sungnyemun Gate is one of three original gates of the fortress wall that surrounded the ancient city at the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty. Five other gates were constructed later, when the city expanded. Gaze up at this ornate temple-like structure on a solid fortress wall, which has become a symbol for South Korea. 

Upon arrival, look for the tablet on the gate with the name written vertically. Officially called the Sungnyemun Gate, which means Gate of Exalted Ceremonies, this famous landmark is also well known as Namdaemun (Great South Gate) and gives its name to the fascinating Namdaemun Market beside it.

Contemplate the craftsmanship involved when this gate was first built between 1395 and 1398, under the supervision of King Taejo of the Joseon Dynasty. Unfortunately, the original wooden structure on top of the gate was destroyed during an arson attack in 2008. Sungnyemun Gate has been rebuilt since and looks victorious once again.

As well as being used to greet important foreign visitors, Sungnyemun Gate was one of the few ways people were allowed in and out of the city back in the day. Stroll through the stone archway of the gate and imagine what it was like to enter the city like this in earlier times. Some days, guards in colorful traditional uniforms still can be seen standing to attention, despite there no longer being a city wall.

The original fortress wall has been removed to meet the requirements of the modern city. This stone wall originally served to keep out invaders and Siberian tigers that once roamed the area.

Take a taxi or use the efficient and clean Seoul subway to find this gate in the bustling Namdaemun area. The nearest station is City Hall, a 15-minute walk away. Since the gate is surrounded by busy roads and there is not much to do on site, combine your visit with some shopping at the Namdaemun Market, which you can easily reach via a pedestrian underpass. 

Entry to the gate is free. Consider visiting at night to take in the view of the beautifully lit gate from a distance after visiting the market. The small green space behind the gate is accessible, except at night and most Mondays.


Guide to Exploring around Sungnyemun Gate


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Sungnyemun Gate

See all 1,994 Properties near Sungnyemun Gate
Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong ¥6,742
Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

Tmark Grand hotel Myeongdong

52, Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Jung-gu, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Namdaemun Market, Postal Museum of Korea, and Bank of Korea Museum. Seven Luck Casino Millennium Seoul Hilton Branch and Sungnyemun Gate are also within 10 minutes. Hoehyeon Station is only a 2-minute walk and Myeong-dong Station is 8 minutes.

    Lotte Hotel Seoul ¥18,302
    Lotte Hotel Seoul

    Lotte Hotel Seoul

    30, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Seoul hotel is located in the business district, within a 5-minute walk of Seoul City Hall and Lotte Department Store. Cheonggyecheon and Myeongdong Street are also within 10 minutes. Euljiro 1-ga Station is only a 2-minute walk and City Hall Station is 5 minutes.

      ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun ¥7,078
      ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

      ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun

      36, Sejong-daero 11-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Sungnyemun Gate and Deoksugung Palace. Cheonggye Plaza and Dongdaemun History and Culture Park are also within 3 mi (5 km). City Hall Station is 6 minutes by foot and Seoul Station is 11 minutes.

        Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong ¥5,350
        Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong

        Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong

        15, Namdaemun-ro 5-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Jung-gu, this spa hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Namsan Park, Gyeongbok Palace, and N Seoul Tower. Dongdaemun History and Culture Park and War Memorial of Korea are also within 3 mi (5 km). City Hall Station is only a 5-minute walk and Hoehyeon Station is 6 minutes.

          Hotel Gracery Seoul ¥7,117
          Hotel Gracery Seoul

          Hotel Gracery Seoul

          12, Sejong-daero 12-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Jung-gu, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Namdaemun Market, Shinsegae, and Deoksugung Palace. Seoul City Hall and Lotte Department Store are also within 15 minutes. City Hall Station is only a 4-minute walk and Hoehyeon Station is 7 minutes.

            Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong ¥7,487
            Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

            Lotte City Hotel Myeongdong

            362, Samil-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Seoul City Hall, Namdaemun Market, and Gwanghwamun. Gyeongbok Palace is 1.3 mi (2 km) away. Euljilo 3-ga Station is 6 minutes by foot and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 8 minutes.

              Sotetsu Fresa Inn Seoul Myeong-dong ¥6,095
              Sotetsu Fresa Inn Seoul Myeong-dong

              Sotetsu Fresa Inn Seoul Myeong-dong

              48, Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Myeongdong Street and Lotte Department Store. Seoul City Hall and Namsan Park are also within 10 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 4-minute walk and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 6 minutes.

                Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong ¥12,574
                Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

                Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

                27 Myeong-dong 8-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Seoul
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Myeongdong, this hotel is steps from Myeongdong Nanta Theatre and Myeongdong Street. Lotte Department Store and Namsan Park are also within 10 minutes. Myeong-dong Station is only a 3-minute walk and Euljiro 1-ga Station is 8 minutes.