Located in central Seoul, not far from Seoul Station, Namdaemun Market, and Deoksugung Palace, is the former site of Souimun Gate. Souimun Gate was one of the Eight Gates of the Seoul City Wall. It was also one of the Four Small Gates along with Changuimun Gate, Hyehwamun Gate, and Gwanghuimun Gate. The site of Souimun Gate is located between Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate) and the site of Donuimun Gate.
When built in 1396 during the reign of King Taejong, the gate was known as Sodeokmun. In 1738, during the reign of King Yeongjo, a new gatehouse was built on top of the stone foundation. Like many of the other gates found along Seoul City Wall, the names of the gates have changed over the centuries. This includes Sodeokmun, which changed its name to its current name, Souimun, in 1744. The new name means “Promotion of Justice Gate.” The gate has also been known as Seosomun Gate, meaning “West Small Gate.”
During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the dead were not allowed to be buried within the city walls. Therefore, funeral processions used Souimun Gate, along with Gwanghuimun Gate to the east, when moving corpses outside of the city for burial.
In 1914, during the Japanese colonial rule, Souimun Gate and its nearby walls were torn down. This was during a time of urban renewal and road expansion when other gates and historic sites were torn down or fell into disrepair.
Today, no traces of Souimun Gate remain. The site of Souimun Gate is believed to be located along Seosomun-ro, in the heart of Jung-gu in central Seoul. While there are no traces of the gate, a small stone plaque marks the site of the former gate.
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