Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre Drame bringing back the Namdaemonium trauma

I woke up this morning to the terrifying sight of Notre Dame engulfed in flames by night. It instantly brought back the Namdaemonium trauma, when Sungnyemun burned down (11 years ago, see "Namdaemunium").

Notre Drame 2019 (left), Namdaemonium 2008 (right)

As a Parisian walking by the monument every day when in my hometown, I feared for the worst, but hopefully the cathedral shall not collapse entirely, as Seoul's last original gate did. The damage remains considerable, starting with that amazing 'foret' of original giant beams, gone for good.

Both 'Namdaemun' and Notre Dame had survived centuries, and wars, both were somehow victims of negligence. If an arsonist did ignite Sungnyemun, the site had recently been deprived of human surveillance in favor of CCTVs. We can't tell yet what caused the fire in Paris, it has probably something to do with the restoration under way around the spire (a XIXth century add on). Walking by the scaffolding on the northern side last month, I was surprised to see how vulnerable the working site looked, but how to keep such an architectural marvel behind wraps? 

Ever since the foiled terror attempt to destroy the Eiffel Tower in 1994 (the one that inspired 9/11), I don't look the same way at landmarks I used to take for granted.

More than in our cityscapes, some landmarks are true anchors in our hearts. You know it when they beat faster each time you see them.


Caught in the Seoul traffic with Sungnyemun. That's not a k-pop star: she's much cuter, has better conversation  - twitter.com/theseoulvillage/status/329023620355596289



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