along steep ridge lines, Mt.
Bukhansan Fortress dates back to the early
days of the Three Kindoms Period, but the mountain fortress the
we see today was built in 1711 by King Sukjong during the Choson
Dynasty. The government had decided that it must build a mountain
fortress near Seoul in order to better defend against foreign invasions,
such as the Japanese and Manchurian invasions of previous century.
It took only six months to construct the fortress by replying heavily
on the steepness of the mountains. The length of the fortress walls
was about ten kilometers. A palace, storehouses, and other military
facilities were located inside the fortress, including three command
posts, none of which now exists. The fortress also featured wells
and water reservoirs for emergency use. It also featured ten temples
and two hermitages for use by Korea's renowned priest-soldiers.
Five of these temples still exist: Whohyo-am, Sangun-sa, Taego-sa,
Kuknyuong-sa and Bongsong-sa. Fourteen gates were built in the wall;
four of them included towers Nowadays only two gates have been reconstructed.
"Taeso-min", the main gate, was reconstructed after the
Korean war. "Taedong-min" and "Taenam-min" were
reconstructed recentiy. Unfortunately, Pukansansong was so severdly
damaged that none the 143 guardposts along the wall has survived.
Urgent action is required to preserve what remains.