By Park Si-soo
Oriental topography experts said the fire at Seoul's 600-year-old structure may have something to do with the mysterious ``fire-torching'' energy from a mountain in southern Seoul.
``From the perspective of Oriental topography, it is possible that the energy torched the fire,'' said Jeon Hang-soo, head of Korea Oriental Topography Research Center. ``Basically, Seoul is more densely filled with the energy than any other cities due to the shape of mountaintops surrounding the city ― spiky and sharp. Mount Gwanak in Southern Seoul notably has the characteristic.''
In Oriental topography, spiky mountaintop stands for ``fire'' and ``hot temper.''
Noting that Gyeongbok Palace, a home to kings during the Joseon Kingdom (1392~1910), Namdaemun and Mount Gwanak are topologically standing in a straight line. Kang Whan-woong, 74, a professor at Sejong University in Seoul, said ``Namdaemun was constructed with the hope of blocking the `aggressive' and `fire-inviting' energies from sneaking into the palace.''
Ancestors had installed statues of` `Haetae,'' a tiger-shaped legendary creature, at the grand gateway in a bid to suppress the energy, he added.
If the gate had not existed, a blaze would have broke out at the palace and even the presidential office, Chung Wa Dae, the professor said.
He pointed out another two mountains in Seoul with the same characteristic as Mount Gwanak ― Mount. Bukhan in the heart of the city and Mount Dobong in Northeastern Seoul.
Some experts in Oriental topography said the number of crimes in the capital might increase in the aftermath of the gate's collapse.
``As Namdaemun, having served as a guardian restraining the `hot-temper' and `easy-fighting' energies from Mount Gwanak disappears, we will see the number of crimes in the capital escalating until its restoration,'' predicted head of the topography research center. ``The restoration of Cheonggye stream has largely contributed to mixing the hostile energy with peaceful one from the manmade waterway, resulting in weakening the violent energy.''
Namdaemun was given the status of ``National Treasure No. 1'' in 1962. The original gate was constructed in 1398, rebuilt in 1447 and has since been frequently renovated.