One of the things that made me want to visit Seoul was this beautiful ancient gate which sits in the middle of traffic in the heart of Seoul. I am still unsure whether or not you can go inside it, but it looks like you can't. At least, I never saw anyone going into it. And since there is a fence surrounding it, and traffic swarming around it, it is kind of hard to get close to anyway. Still, it is my favorite image of Seoul.
Now, suppose you are standing there, looking at the Gate and you say to yourself, I wonder where in Seoul I could go to buy a winter coat and a pig's head? I have often wondered that myself, so I know how you feel. Well, don't worry, because right next door is the Namdaemun Market, where you can buy just about anything. Seiously, if you want dried anchovies, or little toy robots, this is the place. You can get lost going up and down the roads in this shopping district. But, once you get out, it isn't hard to make your way back to the subway station.
Nandaemun, the Great South Gate of Seoul fortress, was built in 1398 and rebuilt in 1447. The fact that most of the stones in this massive edifice are original is one reason why it has been designated Korea's National Treasure No. 1.
It now stands isolated in the middle of a modern highway, on one side of which is the 600-year-old Nandaemun Market.
Namdaemun, also known as Sungnyemun, is the largest gate ever constructed in Korea and is Korean National Treasure Number 1.
Namdaemun, or the "Great South Gate" sits in the center of a major intersection in Seoul near Seoul Station. This gate was part of the fortress wall that surrounded the city of Seoul since the Joseon Dynasty in the 1390s. The city wall circled around four main mountains -- Namsan (to the south), Ingwansan (west), Bugaksan (north), and Naksan (east) -- but significant sections were destroyed by those nasty colonial Japanese. Namdaemun was the historical entrance to the city for official diplomatic visitors from other nations.
After being closed for 99 years, Namdaemun is once again open for traffic -- but only foot traffic, and mostly tourists. There are also changing of the guards ceremonies and martial arts exhibitions frequently at Namdaemun.
In February 2008 Namdaemun was destroyed by an arsonist who had a beef against the government. Koreans will certainly be saddened by the loss of this great and historic treasure.
In May of 2013, the reconstruction of Namdaemun is complete, and the great gate--National Treasure Number 1--has reopened!
Although an insane man burned the Great Gate to the ground in 2007, it is being rebuilt and should be finished by summer of 2009. The gate was not and is not the main attraction. That is the shopping. There are dozens of small alleyways crowded with shops selling just about anything you want. In the buildings you can find expensive dishes, blackmarket merchandise, Chinese herbs, and fancy clothes. On the sidewalks are every kind of food sold in Korea. Be warned, it is never empty and is always crowded and hectic.
Out of the ordinary is the area where the smiling pig heads are sold. Traditionally, when a business first opens, the family wishing the new business people luck will present them with a smiling pig head. There is no bargaining for the pig heads.
Everything else can be bargained for and 25 percent discount is always acheivable. Tsa gae chusay yoh is the way to ask for a discount. Most of the vendors speak some English and a few of them are fluent. In the foreign product area there is no discount. These products are from the G.I.s who sell them to the Koreans who sell them to ex-pats like me who just have to have some Folgers coffee, Colgate or whatever and there is never any bargaining.
Namdaemun (Sungnyemun) Gate is Korea National Treasure Number 1 of Korea. In the past, every representative visiting from China and Japan had to pass through the gate in order to enter Seoul. Its construction began in 1396 and was finished in 1398 (it under -went a major restoration in 1448 and again in 1997) and so it has been in existence for more than 500 years. It is the biggest gate ever made in Korea and is the oldest wooden structure left standing in Seoul. The most interesting thing about the gate is the roof. It is even more beautiful at night because lights have been added to the structure. There were once walls surrounding the gate, but the Japanese destroyed them during the colonial era. As such, it is yet another cultural site, among many others in Korea, where bad memories of the past are still kept and can never be forgotten.
Adjacent to the South Gate is the Namdaemun Market, one of the largest traditional markets in Seoul which dates back to 1414. About 10,000 stores sell 17,000 kinds of items including clothes and accessories. Many of the stores own their own factories, and manufacture products at an astounding speed. Retailers from across the nation flock to these stores from midnight up to 4a.m, creating a peculiar night scene.
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. It is filled with over 1,000 shops, stalls, retailers, street vendors, and has several department stores nearby. Here you can find clothes, shoes, fabrics, tableware, flowers, vegetables, ginseng products, toys, and watches. Under Namdaemun-no (the main street to the north of the market) is an extensive underground arcade.
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. to 5:00 p.m. Although most retailers close their stores on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month, many street vendors operate stalls in the alleys.
Due to its location near downtown and the convenient bus service to and from Itaewon, many foreigners visit here. Most of the vendors can speak a few words of English or Japanese, but you will generally need an interpreter for any intense bargaining. Because many shops are willing to take non-Korean currency, there is also a thriving black market for money exchanging, with rates generally a little better than those of banks. Should you decide to exchange money this way, take great care not to get ripped off.
Nearby is Namdaemun (Great South Gate). Also within walking distance are Seoul Station, Deoksu Palace, and City Hall.
This open air market of many stalls and shops is a favorite for local and foreign tourists. Famous for bargains from clothes, ceramics, Korean artwork, kitchen utensils, accessories, glasses and imported goods.
Open daily 9am to 6pm.
Namdeamun is one of those markets you always hear about where you can buy anything, or almost anything. I frist started walking around Namdeamun and thought alright ya this is ok. Alittle while later I found stairs that went down in to the underground and I got lost in there looking at everything for about one hour there is just so much to see. I think they had the heat turned way up in there becuase it was so very hot in there I was sweating like mad. After i left the under ground area ( The underground really impressed me ) I saw the south gate (the gate you see on all the post cards ) and I was amazed and i had to put it in my must see activitys.
Namdaemun (South Gate) is located near the downtown area and is one of Korea's largest wholesale markets.
There are over 1,000 shops, stalls, retailers, street vendors, and has several department stores nearby.
Here you can find clothes, shoes, fabrics, tableware, flowers, vegetables, ginseng products, toys, and watches.
So- head to The oldest Market in Korea. It's not what I would call "traditional" but some do. It's definetly interesting though. You can buy anything here and always at a deal. You're not going to find any high fashion here(unless you stop into the Department store for some Gucci) but some wicked ajumma gear down these twisting side streets of the market. Have fun, get lost and buy something you weren't expecting.
Namdaemun is the Old South Gate and one of Seoul's great landmarks. It is one of the few remaining parts of the wall that once surrounded the city. THe best place to view it is near the fountain a bit up the hill on the right. The city has even graciously maked "photo spots" on the pavement for you so you can get the exact same picture (minus Rufus, of course)
Namdaemun is not far from Myeong-dong. It's in walkable distance. But they are different. The store in Namdaemun sell children's clothing, men & women's clothing, daily miscellaneous goods, kitchenware and local products.
This place suit for local for seeking their miscellaneous goods for daily life. Many of the store is the wholeseller. We don't think it's for foreigner to shop here. But for survey, it's worth to see.
One of the symbols of Seoul and Korea, Namdaemun Gate was given the status of "National Treasure No.1" on December 20, 1962.
Namdaemun was built as one of four great gates to protect the palace of the Yi dynasty. 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 Gate was originally called the Sungnyemun Gate. 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.
Next to the structure is the Namdaemun Market, one of the largest traditional markets in Seoul which dates back to 1414.
The Namdaemun Market is probably one of the larger markets to visit. They seem to have quite a variety of wares and food. A little smelly, I mean unfavorably smelly, but I think that just adds to the experience. We saw several, several markets like this throughout our visit to South Korea. Please check out my travelogue album on my Seoul page of Namdaemun Market for more pictures.
In Seoul apparently there are four main districts that can be of an interest for a Tourist..
The first place is the downtown Seoul area.. In this area we have started with the Namdaemun market . Namdaemun grand market is indeed many shops and reatilers, street sellers all located in one area.. It was great fun to stroll a long the narrow roads and streets with all those different things that were offered.. However for me it is not a good place to shop, due to very low quality of many products..