SEOUL, Aug. 24 (Yonhap) -- An old hackberry tree shown in the TV sensation "Extraordinary Attorney Woo" will be designated as a natural moment, a government agency said Wednesday.
The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said it will put up a public notice on its plan to preserve the tree as a natural monument next Tuesday.
The tree, presumed to be 500 years old, is located on a hill in Dongbu Village in the southern city of Changwon. It has gained public interest since it appeared in last week's seventh and eighth episodes of the legal drama, which revolves around an ingenious rookie lawyer with autism spectrum disorder.
The CHA reached the decision during a meeting of its cultural heritage committee held earlier in the day in Seoul.
Any decision made by the committee is usually announced to the public about a week later, but the latest one was unveiled right after the meeting, apparently in consideration of high public attention on the matter.
The cultural heritage zone around the tree is currently under the protection of the Changwon city government.
"We have comprehensively confirmed the historical, academic, and scenic values of the hackberry tree, combined with the value of the intangible heritage of the village's Dangsanje," a CHA official said, referring to a ritual held by villagers once every year in front of the tree, worshipped as the guardian of the village.
The agency will gather opinions of people from all walks of life for 30 days after the public notice before finalizing the plan.
In the drama, lawyer Woo and her colleagues fight against the local government's plan to construct a road that would cut through a fictional village. They won the case by having the tree designated as a natural monument.
The tree is 16 meters high and 6.8 meters in circumference, and has a crown spread of 27 meters.
There are currently two hackberry trees designated as natural monuments -- in the southeastern county of Yecheon and southwestern county of Gochang.