A Final Morning in South Korea: Inwangsan

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From Seodaemun Prison, I walked up to Inwangsan, one of the set of mountains which guards the old city of Seoul, and still contains remains of the old city wall.

Inwangsan is mostly in Seoul's Jongno district (shown on this map), though part of the mountain is also in the Seodaemun District.

Inwangsan is mostly in Seoul’s Jongno district (shown on this map), though part of the mountain is also in the Seodaemun District.

I didn’t have time to go to the peak (I had a flight to catch that evening) so I went straight to the highlights. I admit this was not the best spirit for exploration, but what could I do? It was now or never.

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Possibly the most famous and memorable sight on Inwangsan is Seonbawi, shown above. Shamanists regard it as a sacred site, and it has also been a subject of Joseon poetry.

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Speaking of the Joseon era, Inwangsan is the subject of a famous Joseon painting.

A black-and-white painting showing black mountain ridges with a white background and white mist creeping around the base

Inwang-jesaekdo, by Jeon Seon

I first walked through a Buddhist temple on a trail up to Inwangsan.

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I was looking for Guksadang, the most famous Shaman shrine in Seoul. The Joseon dynasty did not like Shamanism and more than they liked Buddhisim, so shamanism was marginalized, particularly in Seoul, during Joseon rule. The Japanese disliked Korean shamanism even more strongly, and destroyed this shrine, which has been rebuilt after independence.

I’m not sure I found the shrine. What I found is this:

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Is that the shrine? After reading the description in the guidebook, I was expecting something grander, but shaman shrines tend to be humbler than Buddhist temples, so maybe this is it after all.

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I then wanted to squeeze just one more tourist attraction into my precious few hours in South Korea, so I walked along the remains/reconstruction of the old wall of Seoul to Bukaksan.

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On the way to my final tourist spot in South Korea, I looked back and saw this view of Inwangsan.

You can see Seonbawi in the lower right corner of this photo of Inwangsan.

You can see Seonbawi in the lower right corner of this photo of Inwangsan.

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This entry was posted in Art, Fortress, Geology, Hike, Joseon, Seoul, Shamanism, Temple and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Final Morning in South Korea: Inwangsan

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  8. ctaskin20 says:

    Reblogged this on CENGIZ TASKIN'S PAGE (ALL WELCOME) and commented:
    Who Wouldnt Want To Wake Up Here!! ğŸ’¡ğŸ’ŽğŸ‘’

    Like

  9. ctaskin20 says:

    Awsometacular!! 🇰🇷

    Like

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