Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunset over Inwangsan: Part 1

After Angela and I visited Seodaemun Prison (which you can read about in this post), we headed straight for a nearby mountain that we saw looming over the city. We didn't know its name or what was at the top. In fact we didn't even know the mountain existed until we arrived at Seodaemun, so climbing it was quite a spontaneous decision. We would soon discover via signs that it was called Inwangsan, and it turned out to be one of the most serene and beautiful places either of us had been to in Korea. In fact the two of us were just giddy with happiness the whole time we were there, since the surrounding vista was so beautiful and the atmosphere so tranquil and charming.
This is my favourite place in Korea, so far, and consequently I took a ton of photos.

This sign near the prison guided us towards the mountain.
A small way up the lower slopes of the mountain was a beautiful little village dominated by charming temples and a large black rock called Seonbawi. 
A Korean lady heads up into the village.

On the rooftops.

In the centre of the village was a Buddhist temple called Bongwonsa with a giant bell outside.

Even though a lot of Korean temples look quite samey after a while, I don't think I'll ever get tired of their pretty, intricate designs.

A little further up from Bongwonsa is a large volcanic rock called Seonbawi, which means "Zen Rock," because it resembles an old monk bending in prayer. The rock is also known as Gijaam, the "Rock of Childbearing Prayer," because many women and married couples pray for childbearing at the site.

A couple praying at the rock, possibly for a child.

From the rock we could see the walls of the old Seoul Fortress running along the mountains.
The back of Seonbawi.
It may have been bright and sunny but it was still damn cold.

The higher we climbed the more stunning the views of the city became.

Seodaemun Prison, now rendered small like a model village.
Click here to continue the adventure in Part 2!

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