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Seoul city to restore palace walkway by year's end

All News 13:45 January 25, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- A narrow walkway along Deoksu Palace in downtown Seoul will be restored 132 years after it was cut off by the construction of the British Embassy in Korea, a Seoul City Council member said Monday.

The council member said the Seoul Metropolitan Government will restore the 170-meter-long sidewalk along the stonewall of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) palace at the embassy compound at the expense of 2.8 billion won (US$2.34 million).

The capital city will finish the 3- to 6-meter-wide walkway, commonly called "doldam-gil" in Korean, by the end of the year after compensating the British Embassy, according to council member Choe Pan-sul.

In 1884, the British Embassy purchased the land site for the soon-to-be restored walkway, cutting it off from the present tree-lined sidewalks, famed for their seasonal beauty.

Talks for the restoration of the stonewall walkway started in October 2014 between the city administration and the British Embassy.

After a series of negotiations, they reached a memorandum of understanding in May last year to push for the restoration project.

The Seoul city government plans to use the sidewalk as a sightseeing destination to show the coexistence between the Korean and British cultures.

Deoksu Palace is one of the capital's five palaces. The others are Gyeongbok, Gyeonghui, Changdeok and Changgyeong.

Representing remarkable architectural achievements, the palaces were turned to near ruin during the Japanese invasion (1592-98) and colonial occupation (1910-45).

In the late years of the Joseon Dynasty, Jeongdong, where the Deoksu Palace and its sidewalks are located, comprised the residences and embassies of Western powers and foreign missionaries.

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