In February of 2008, Sungnyemun was severely damaged in a fire. After 5 years and 3 months of renovations,
it has now returned to people! The most renowned artisans in possession of important intangible cultural skills of Korea participated in and dedicated themselves to the restoration project while having numerous historical researches.
Shin Eung-soo participated in the project as the leader of the building process. He was the youngest junior in the repair work for Sungnyemun, held in 1962. But now, he is working as the project manager of carpentry work which is considered the most important part of the restoration process.
From the past, Korea has been famous for its beautiful wooden buildings and structures including palaces and temples. So carpenters' work is particularly critical.
During the long restoration, Sungnyemun has gone through various changes.
The roof was made with traditional tiles. Natural pigments were used for traditional multicolored paintwork.
The calligraphy on the plaque was based on inscriptions of the Joseon Dynasty. And sprinklers and CCTV have installed for fire prevention. The walls on either side that were taken down by Japanese colonialists have also been back up.
On this week's Heart to Heart, we are going to talk about Sungnyemun, the first National Treasure of Korea, and hear about Shin Eung-soo's 50-year life story as a carpenter.