Must-visit Tourist Destinations for Koreans (3rd) / 2017.05.15
Korea Post has been issuing postage stamps that feature must-see tourist destinations in Korea. This year, the third series of the stamps introduces scenic and cultural sites that are also historical. At the foot of Cheomchalsan Mountain of Jeollanam-do Province is Ullimsanbang Villa and Garden, Jindo (Scenic Site No. 80) where Sochi (penname) Heo Ryeon, a master of the Southern School of literati painting (namjonghwa) in the late Joseon period, lived and did works in his later years. Trained by Buddhist master Choui Seonsa and Chusa Kim Jeong-hui, Heo Ryeon was adored by King Heonjong. He was known particularly for his works of flowering trees and gardens. Designed in consideration for feng shui, Ullimsanbang has a traditional garden with access to the center of a square pond. It represents gardens of middle-class artists during the late Joseon period.
Jinjuseong Fortress (Historic Site No. 118) in Gyeongsangnam-do Province stands on a cliff overlooking the Namgang River of Jinju. It was here during the Imjin War in the late 1590s that General Kim Si-min defeated a Japanese army of 30,000 troops with a force of only 3,800 men. It is also known for Uiam (the Rock of Righteousness) from which Nongae leapt into the water while clasping a Japanese general in her arms. Originally built as earthen fortification, Jinjuseong Fortress was rebuilt as a stone fortress in 1379, the fifth year of the reign of King U of Goryeo. Many historical sites and much cultural heritage are within the fortress, including scenic Chokseoknu, Uigisa Shrine dedicated to Nongae, Jeongchungdan, Bukjangdae, and Yeongnam Pojeongsa Munru.
Soswaewon Garden, Damyang (Scenic Site No. 40) is a good example of byeolseo (rural villa gardens), a type of garden designed during the Joseon period in which areas are divided by ranks based on Confucian ideas. They were built to bring the beauty of nature on to private property. Soswaewon Garden was praised by many poets and calligraphers and greatly inspired Honam (southwestern) Gasa literature. Featured in the woodblock print of Soswaewon, Soswaewon 48 yeongsi (recited poem) by scholar Kim In-hu paints a detailed picture of the art and culture enjoyed in the garden, as well as the original garden itself, thereby telling the story of a recluse and relating the essence of a traditional garden during the Joseon period. Mungyeongsaejae Pass (Scenic Site No. 32) was a critical stretch of the Great Yeongnam Road, or Yeongnamdaero, which opened in the 14th year of King Taejongs reign (1414) and became a principal road leading to Hanyang (modern day Seoul). Saejae means a hill over which even a bird could barely fly. As the name indicates, Mungyeongsaejae Pass is an old, rough mountain road along which the traces of history remain today, in key military defense sites, pavilions, and tavern sites from the Joseon period. The pass has become an attraction as it features breathtaking natural scenery, including Juheulsan Mountain and Joryeongsan Mountain. It is frequented today by tourists year-round.
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