Jeongnisima Temple

Jeongnisima temple was the last Baekje site I visited.

Jeongnisima Templecc

This 5-story Pagoda actually is more than 1500 years old and the heart of the temple. There is also a museum about Baekje, which might have been interesting, if my Korean were better.

Buyeo castle

Gongju did not stay the capital of Baekje very long – it soon got replaced by Buyeo,  a bit more than 25 km south-east. Obviously, is the hill right next to the river in Buyeo is the site of yet another no longer existent castle. The biggest sight of this particular no-longer castle is Goronsa temple, at the waterside.


It is actually quite a steep descent down to the temple, but legend has it that it is worth it: Drinking from the well behind the temple supposedly rejuvenates you by three years.

A river bed

River bed

This is the river bed of Daejeon’s Yudeungcheon. There is nothing really special about it, but it is very typical: The actual river seems to nearly vanish in its bed. The size of the river bed lets you imagine how much the river might swell up during the rainy season.

Royal tombs in Gongju

At the first glance, there is little difference between the Royal tombs in Gyeongju (Silla) and those in Gongju (Baekje).  Gongju tomb

At second glance, however, there are quite a few differences.

Gongju tombThere are actually doors leading into the tombs, and until 1997 you apparently could directly visit the tomb. Nowadays,you can only visit replicas in the museum. In Gyeongju, the central chamber of the tomb was made from wood, but in Gongju they used stones and drew paintings on the walls.

Gongju tomb

For the most important grave, that for King Muryeong, they even used bricks, which were very uncommon in the region.

Gongju tombIf you look closely, you can even see the decorations on each individual brick.

Gonju castle

In 475 A.D. the kingdom of Goguryeo conquered Seoul, forcing the kingdom of Baekje to move its capital further south, to the town nowadays known as Gongju.There, they used a natural hill to build a huge fortification. The outer wall of the castle has been restored and one can take a walk around the castle grounds on top of the wall.

Gongju castle

One of the highlights is a very nice pavilion nested between the river and a lotus pond:


The Royal Portrait Museum

It is ni coincidence that Jeonju’s Hanok village is one of the best of Korea. Jeonju is the ancestral home of the Jeonju-Lee family, better known as the royal family of Jeoson. Pictures, especially those of kings, apparently had (near) religious value in Joseon, so it is not surprising that a picture of the first Jeoson king, Taejo, is enshrined in the Jeonju Hanok village. The areal also houses the Royal Portrait Museum,which exhibits replicas of Royal Portraits. It is, admittedly, a bit boring.

But the buildings used for the ancestral rites are interesting, and the park is gorgeous.

100_3567Because there is a small admittance fee, it is much less crowded  than the rest of the village and seems nearly tranquil.



Jeonju Hanok village

I visited Jeonju on a Saturday, which was probably a good idea because the hundreds on Korean tourists to visit Jeonju’s Hanok village only help to increase its charm. A Hanok village is a  neighbourhood, in which most houses are traditional Korean hanok.


One of the more famous buildings of the village is the Confucian institute. The Ginkgo trees in the courtyard are a few hundred years old.


However, the best part about the hanok village are the other visitors. Most Koreans dress up either in Joseon period gear or in retro school uniforms, giving the village a kind of “renaissance faire” feeling. Definitely great fun!