August 26, 2022
SEOUL – A 500-year-old protected tree in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, which recently gained fame following its appearance in the global hit drama series “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” is to be designated a natural monument by the end of September, the Cultural Heritage Administration announced on Wednesday.
The East Asian hackberry of Bukbu-ri, Changwon, also known as “Sodeok-dong paengnamu” in the TV series, stands 16 meters tall with a circumference of 6.8 meters. It has a crown spread of 27 meters.
From the hill in Dongbu Village where the hackberry is located, the vast plains of Hanam-eup and Daesan-myeon spread north and south along the Nakdong river, creating unique scenery.
The tree embodies a rich local history and folklore, according to research by the CHA.
In the past, a temple named Danseonam was next to the tree, where villagers would hold Dangsanje rituals and send wishes. The tree acted as a village guardian for people.
However, not all residents of Dongbu Village welcome the natural monument designation.
According to the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, a maximum radius of 500 meters from the tree’s location will be marked off as a conservation area once the tree is designated as a natural monument. This means that development and construction permits will be highly restricted and limit people‘s exercise of property rights.
Some 70 residents from 37 households live within a 200-meter radius of the village.
The CHA will decide on the final designation of the tree after a month of briefing residents and gathering opinions.
Currently, two hackberry trees have been designated as natural monuments — the Hwangmokgeun in Geumnam-ri, Yecheon, North Gyeongsang Province, and East Asian Hackberry of Sudong-ri, Gochang, South Jeolla Province.
The tree in Changwon has been under the protection of Changwon City since July 2015.