SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- The Seoul metropolitan government opened the entire walkway encircling a royal palace in the South Korean capital to the public Friday almost 60 years after it was blocked off by the British Embassy.
Visitors have been unable to complete the circuit of the walkway along the stone wall around Deoksu Palace, a royal residence of the 1392-1910 Joseon Dynasty, as the compound of the British Embassy has been sitting on a strip of the palatial perimeter since 1963, resulting in a 170-meter break in the 1.1-kilometer route.
The access to the popularly known "Doldamgil" pathway came on the heels of the embassy's agreement in August last year to transfer 100 meters of the stone-paved pathway to the city government.
The 100-meter road was originally owned by the Seoul local government. But the embassy did not return the remaining 70 meters of the pathway, which Britain purchased for the construction of its legation in Seoul in 1883, as lodgings for embassy staff and its main gate are located nearby.
The British side was reluctant to leave the 70-meter section open for security reasons, but the city government and the Cultural Heritage Administration persuaded the embassy to accept compromise measures to create a road inside the place that leads to Doldamgil and to build an exit by the stone wall for the embassy. The embassy and the palace are divided by the wall.
The 70-meter road inside the palace is only open during visiting hours.
The city government and the administration had been pushing the project to open the walkway along since 2014 and managed to persuade the embassy to help it materialize.