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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 08:44 GMT
In pictures: Seoul landmark fire

Firefighters battle a blaze at Namdaemun, Seoul, 11 February 2008

A 14th Century gate widely seen as South Korea's most treasured attraction has been ravaged by a fire that broke out late on Sunday.

Namdaemun, Seoul, 11 February 2008

Namdaemun, or the Great South Gate, was the oldest wooden structure in Seoul. It served as the city's main entrance when it became South Korea's capital more than 600 years ago.

Firefighters battle a blaze at Namdaemun, Seoul, 11 February 2008

More than 100 firefighters tried to extinguish the blaze, firing hoses from every angle.

Namdaemun, Seoul, 11 February 2008

But their efforts were not enough to prevent the two-storey superstructure crumbling as the flames ripped through it.

Namdaemun, Seoul, 11 February 2008

By Monday morning, only the stone base of the gate was left. According to initial estimates, it will take three years and $21m to restore.

Namdaemun, Seoul, 11 February 2008

South Koreans spoke of their anguish at losing the gate, which was re-opened to the public two years ago for the first time since 1907.





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