Andong (South Korea)
Andong is located in the north of North Gyeongsang Province on the banks of the Nakdong River. Under the state of Silla, Andon was called Chinhan and was one of the strongholds of Buddhism in the state. Since the 14th century, under the state of Joseon, Confucianism began to spread here, and to this day the descendants of Confucian scholars live in Andong. Due to the many ancient buildings, houses and Buddhist shrines, Andong has retained the spirit of antiquity. Here you can even stay overnight in traditional Korean hanok houses, which are numerous in the city and are under state protection.
Bongjong Monastery in Andong end of the 7th century. In its original form, only the wooden pavilion Kynak has survived from the buildings of the monastery. In the Taung pavilion, there are 3 statues of Buddha, behind which there is a panel depicting the Buddha and his disciples. The soju museum is also located in the city. Soju is Korean moonshine. The museum presents the process of making moonshine, collects the items necessary for its preparation, and organizes tastings. Nearby is the Hahoe Folk Village. with examples of traditional Korean dwellings. In addition, it is famous for making unique traditional masks for Hahoe talchhum dance performances. Such performances are constantly arranged in the village, which trace their history back to the 12th century. At the end of September, the Hahoe-Byeongsantal Mask Festival is held here every year. Not far from Hahoe is the Dosansowon Confucian Academy, which was founded in the 16th century by Lee Hwang, one of the most famous scholars of the time.
5 km from Andong, along the road, you can see a rock overgrown with trees, on which the image of the Buddha Amitaba, more than 10 m high, is engraved.
Ganghwa, Ganghwa Island (South Korea)
According to Sourcemakeup.com, Ganghwa Island is located near the border with North Korea in the Yellow Sea at the mouth of the Han River. It is the fifth largest island in South Korea. During periods of political instability and attacks from other states, the island became a refuge for the royal court, that is, for a while it turned into the second capital of the state. In this regard, many fortifications, monasteries and palaces were built here throughout the history of the city.
The island is famous for its numerous dolmens – burials of the Bronze Age, crowned with mysterious structures made of huge boulders. The largest dolmen is 6.5 m long and 2.6 m high. Next to it is a 5-tiered pagoda and a 2.8 m high carved Buddha image from the 11th century.
Also on the island Ganghwa is of interest to the Buddhist monastery Chongdyn-sa, where during the Mongol invasion the sacred Korean scripture Tripitaka Koreana was kept. The monastery was founded in 372 on the slopes of Mount Jeongzhok. Its main attractions are a huge pavilion of the 17th century with a sculpture of a naked woman carved in wood, which was made by one of the builders of the monastery, an 11th century Chinese bell and a second edition of the Tripitaka Koreana of the 13th century. Not far from the Chongdeun-sa monastery is the 17th century Samnan Fortress, which was built on the site of an older ruined fortress. There is an altar on Mount Mani, which, according to legend, was built by Tangun, the hero of legends and the progenitor of the Koreans.
In the main city of the island – the city of Ganghwo – there are the ruins of the royal palace of the Goryeo era of 1234.
The beaches on the east coast of Ganghwa Island, where the sea is shallow and calm, are considered among the best in South Korea. The beach season lasts here from July to August. Seokmo Island is located off the west coast of Ganghwa Island. In the 7th century, under the state of Silla, the Pomun Monastery with the cave temple of Sokku-ram was built on this island. The altar of the temple is interesting, where 23 Buddha figurines are exhibited, which, according to legend, were fished out of the sea by a local fisherman. About 400 steps were laid from the main pavilion of the monastery to the mountains. They lead to the image of the deity Kwanesuma carved in the rock.
Gwangju (South Korea)
Gwangju is the capital of South Jeolla Province. It has the status of an independent administrative unit. In the city itself, only the State Museum is interesting. Here, in 7 halls, you can see objects found during archaeological excavations, objects from the Three Kingdoms period (pottery, iron products), artworks on the theme of Buddhism, artworks from the Joseon era, pottery from the era of the Goryeo state, and objects from a sunken in coastal waters about 600 years ago a Chinese merchant ship. But mostly tourists come to Gwangju to do ecotourism and hiking. Tamyang is located 22 km north of Gwangju.. Tamyang has been the center of bamboo cultivation since ancient times. There is a center for the study of bamboo, the world’s first bamboo museum, bamboo forests and souvenir shops selling bamboo products. In early May, the city even hosts a bamboo festival. From Tamyang, you can go to Chiri-san National Park, which is located on the slopes of the Chiri-san mountain range. The park contains the highest point in the mainland of the country – Cheonwang-bong Peak (1915 m). The national park is always shrouded in fog or clouds. At the entrance to it there are several hotels where you can spend the night.
Several monasteries are of interest on the territory of the Chiri-san National Park. Khwaom-sa Monastery was founded in 544. The legend says that it was founded by the Hindu priest Yong Gi, who descended here from heaven on a mythical animal with the body of a turtle and the head of a dragon. The statue of this animal can be seen in the monastery. Of the most ancient buildings of the monastery, only the Taung-jeon pavilion of 1630 has been preserved, where fragments of the sacred Korean scripture, the stone Tripitaka Koreana, destroyed by the Japanese, are kept. The monastery also houses one of the largest pavilions in the country, Kakwam-chjom, the vault of which is supported by huge wooden pillars with decorations in the form of drawings in their upper part. A little higher up the slope stands the three-tiered Wonton-jeon-jeon pagoda of the 7th century. A staircase of 108 steps leads to it.