A day in Buyeo [Ultimate Guide]

Welcome to Buyeo, the center of Baekje culture! It’s where you can find the impressive tradition and beautiful culture!

Buyeo District is a district of South Chungcheong Province, South Korea.

Buyeo District is located in the lower Geum Valley in a hilly region south of the Charyeong Mountain range. The central hills are Seongtaesan (631 m), Wolmyeongsan (544 m), and Mansusan (432 m). Buyeo is 60 km west of Daejeon City and 40 km east of the Yellow Sea. It has been crossed by Highway 151, connecting Gongju to Seocheon since 2009. It is served by a bus network that puts it 2 hours from Seoul. There is no train.

The district’s population is declining rapidly, from 95,213 inhabitants in 2000 to 71,809 in 2014. There were 195,843 inhabitants in 1964. It includes an up (the capital) and 15 communes ( myeon ).

The five-storied pagoda of Jeongnim-sa.

The climate of Buyeo is of the humid continental type ( Dwa according to the Köppen classification ). Rainfall is concentrated in summer, while winters are dry. The average temperature rises from −1.9  °C in January to 25.5  °C in August. Buyeo is part of the Central Korea Deciduous Forests ecoregion.

Symbol of Buyeo

Symbol

The image of a phoenix on top of the Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje represents the strong will of enterprising Buyeo residents who will soar in the 21st century and express Buyeo will go global.

History

In the village of Songguk-ri, remains dating from the Mumun period (-850 to -300) have been found. During the Three Kingdoms, Buyeo served as the capital of the Kingdom of Baekje between 538 and 660. It was then known as Sabi. The corresponding archaeological sites ( Busosanseong Fortress, Gwanbuk-ri Administrative Buildings, Jeongnimsa Temple, Neungsan-ri Royal Tombs, and Naseong City Walls ) have been included in the World Heritage List within the Historic Areas Group of Baekje. Gungnamji Pondwas was also created at this time in the royal gardens. Since 1954, this past has been celebrated every autumn in the Baekje 1 cultural festival framework. The Buyeo National Museum is also entirely devoted to him, as is the Baekje Cultural Park.

Buyeo 10 Scenic Views

Nakhwaam Rock at Mt. Buso

Mt. Buso is a mountain in Buyeo with an altitude of 106m, extended throughout the Ssangbuk-ri, Gwanbuk-ri, and Gugyo-ri area, Buyeo-eup. It stands tall in the flat area. The east and north are steep and touch Baengmagang. The name of Mt. Buso first appears in King Sejong’s Treatise on Geography. Buso means pine tree in the Baekje language. There is a strong theory that Mt. Buso is ‘Solmoe.’

Mt. Busa usually acted as the backyard of Baekje palace. During the war, it kept the last of the capital, Sabi.

Some of the most famous sites on the mountain include Sajaru Pavilion, Baekhwajeong, Sajaru, Samchungsa Temple, Seoboksaji, Yeongillu Pavilion, Goransa Temple, Nakhwaam Rock, and Gunchangji. The hill is known for its beauty and history.

According to Samgukyusa, Nakhwaam is where the royal court women of Baekje jumped off to kill themselves when the kingdom of Baekje was defeated during the invasion of Sabiseong Fortress by the Shilla-Tang Alliance.

The rock was later called Nakhwaam, which means “the cliff of falling flowers.” Joseon Scholar Song Siyeol wrote the name on the cliff, which remains clear. The ridge is seen well on the ship sailing on Baengmagang.

Gungnamji

Gungnamji Lake is where the legend of Princess Seonhwa of Silla and King Mu takes place.

Samguksaji records, “A pond was made south of the palace in March, and it drew fresh running water through a 20-li-long pipeline. The pond has an island with a pavilion surrounded by willow trees to imitate Bangjangseonsan.” Looking at this record, it can be known that it is a royal garden made during King Mu’s reign. At the hill east of the pond, stereobate stone, roof tiles, and earthenware pieces were excavated, hinting that a palace was nearby.

Gungnamji, with the pavilion in the middle, was the first garden to express the Taoist ideology. It shows that Baekje most excelled at decorating gardens among the three states.

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All four seasons are beautiful. In July, thousands of lotus flowers line up for the Seodong Lotus Flower Festival. In October and November, the Goodtrae Chrysanthemum Festival takes place to display various artworks.

Cheonjeongdae Baekjebo

Cheonjeongdae is a place with a story that shows one aspect of mountain spirit worship during Baekje. According to Samgukyusa, people wrote the names of prime minister candidates and placed them here. They waited for a seal to be placed on one of the names and appointed the chosen one as the prime minister. For this reason, it was called ‘Jeongsaam’. The appointment of a prime minister is a significant event for the country, and this practice shows the ancient political idea of depending on god in making a big decision.

Under Cheonjeongdae flows the Baengma River, and you can see Joojangsan Fortress and Busosanseong Fortress, the center of Baekje capital, at once at this bedrock. There are numerous oddly formed rocks like Imgeum Rock and Sinha Rock.

Near Cheonjeongdae, roof tiles, including convex roof-end tiles with lotus flower patterns, were found. It is assumed that there used to be a building here.

Baekjebo (311m) of Geum River took the ‘return of General Gyebaek’ as the theme to describe General Gyebaek, who returned to protect the Baengma River. At the floodgate is the image of General Gyebaek looking over the river on a horse.

A multicultural space, the Geum River Cultural Center at Baekjebo has four river promotion zones, the Geumg River special zone, and others. You can have a great view of the Baengma River at the observatory.

Baekje Cultural Heritage Complex

Since Baekje’s capital, Buyeo, was designated the particular region for Baekje culture in 1993, this complex was prepared over 17 years from 1994 to 2010.

It was Korea’s first reproduction of the Baekje palace during the period of the Three States. Beam on the pillar structure of the court and temple and the graceful and elegant dancing are the representative construction styles of Baekje. Realistic reproduction of buildings in Sabi based on artifacts and historical sites will help in understanding the culture and history of Baekje.

Not only Baekje Historical Cultural Center, but also Sabi palace and the famous temple Neungsa, a residential culture village that shows the housing culture of each class, the initial royal palace Wiryeseong, and tombs display the life of Baekje, the tremendous cultural country 1,400 years ago.

Also, the Baekje Historical Cultural Center opened in 2006 and is the only museum in Baekje’s history. It has a permanent exhibition that shows the history and culture of Baekje at a glance, as well as other exhibitions and education facilities, including the featured collection and i-Baekje trial room.

Seodongyo Theme Park

It is the filming set for Korea’s first drama in Baekje history, Seodongyo. It was built on 10,000 pyeong land.

Baekje and Silla palace, palace village, Taehaksa, Haneuljae, and the downtown are in the open set. Famous TV dramas like The Great Seer, The Legend, Gyebaek, and Joseon Shooter were filmed. The comprehensive view of splendid scenery is as beautiful as a painting.

Deokyong Reservoir, which surrounds the set, is an excellent place for a morning walk – not too steep -that anyone can enjoy.

The storied stone pagoda of Jeongnimsa Temple site

The storied stone pagoda of Jeongnimsa Temple site was built in the early 6th century when Baekje transferred its capital to Buyeo. The low, thin foundation, pillars in the Beheullim Technique, and light yet wide roofs stick to the basic formation of a wooden building. However, it is sophisticated and creative. The entire shape is grand and beautiful.

Along with Iksan Mireuksaji Temple Stone Pagoda, it shows the characteristics of pagodas made in early Baekje. The organized form and grand yet sophisticated beauty show off the skills of Baekje artists.

Many pagodas in Chungnam imitate the format of this pagoda.

General So Jeongbang from Tang, who destroyed Baekje by allying with Silla, left a comment on the pagoda. It is a precious historical resource that conveys the situation of the time.

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Baekje Royal Tombs Park in Gobun-gun, Neungsan-ri

It is the royal tombs from the Sabi period (538-660).

It is located right outside of eastern Naseong. With seven tombs in the center, a group of tombs are located east and west. There are three big groups of graves. Looking at the size and the location, the burials in the center are assumed to be the tombs of kings from the Sabi period. The location of the tombs in the center matches the geographical features of the propitious site for a grave that Feng-Shui suggests. There is a possibility that Feng-Shui ideology already existed during Baekje.

Since the beginning of the Japanese colonial era, 1915, the tombs have been investigated several times. However, there were barely any grave goods remaining. There were only some pieces of crown decorated with gold and lacquer.

Recently, a temple site located in the valley between Naseong and the tombs was investigated, for it was a temple to pray for the repose of the deceased. There, the gilt-bronze incense burner of Baekje (National Treasure No. 287) and the stone sarira case with the inscription of Changwang in Baekje (National Treasure No. 288) were excavated. It served as an opportunity to realize the excellence of Baekje culture.

Baengma River water tour

The name Geum River was given because the silk-like river surrounds Buyeo, touching every corner. It reaches Buyeo and is called Baengma River (16km – Cheonjeongdae in Hoam-ri to Banjowon-ri). Following the river are Cheongjeongdae, Nakhwam Rock, Wangheungsa temple site, Gudurae, Subukjeong, and Jaondae.

Under the Baengma River Bridge, canoe and yacht classes occur annually from June to October.

The canoe and yacht program offers a fun, relaxing experience.

Muryangsa Temple in Mt. Mansoo

It is said that Muryangsa Temple was built by Beomilguksa (810-889) in the late Silla and reconstructed several times later. However, the actual year of the foundation is unknown.

At the end of Silla, an old monk, Muyeomguksa (801-888), temporarily stayed here, and it was expanded in the Goryeo Dynasty.

It is also where the genius poet Kim Siseup, who lived in seclusion all his life and criticized Grand Prince Suyang for killing his cousin Danjong to become a king, spent his later days and passed away. Once, in the Joseon Dynasty, a famous monk, Jinmuk, stayed. During the Japanese Invasion of 1592, all buildings were burnt down, and the Hall of Paradise was rebuilt later. Yeongsanjeon (Provincial Cultural Property No. 413) and Myeongbujeon (Provincial Cultural Property No. 389) are not found after the Japanese.

Only records on Geukrakjeon (Treasure No. 356) are found. Danganjiju (Provincial Cultural Property No. 57), Seokdeung (Treasure No. 233), and Seoktap (Treasure No. 185) take the style of early Goryeo and are considered a temple from the Goryeo Dynasty. Other artifacts from the temple include Kim Siseup’s portrait (Treasure No. 1497) and Mireukbul’s painting in Muryangsa temple (Treasure No. 1265).

Mt. Seongheung Love Tree

Mt. Seongheung Love Tree is a 400-year-old zelkova tree designated as Buyeo-gun Local Relic No. 88. Seongheungsan Fortress, built during the reign of King Dongseong, surrounds the tree.

Located in Seongheungsan Fortress (altitude of 240m), this zelkova tree is called the love tree.

It can be easily identified from afar. Thus, it acts as a symbol for Mt. Seongheung. It is 22m in height and 125cm in circumference at breast height. It is assumed to be about 400 years old. Standing by this tree, you can see the entire Incheon moon and Nonsan, Ganggyeong, Iksan, and Seocheon at a glance.

It is where several scenes from the drama Seodongyo (2006; Hyeonjae Cho and Boyeong Lee), Korea’s first drama in Baekje history, were shot. It is where Jangyi and Princess Seonhwa begin to have feelings for each other. It is where Jangyi builds a house for the princess thrown out of the place. It is where the scene on the relationship between the annual ring and climate and Ondol was filmed.

The beautiful last scene of the KBS drama Great King Sejong (2008), where two characters stand by the big tree, was filmed here.

The set is a famous filming location for dramas and films (Gyebaek, Iljimae, Scent of a Woman, Faith, and The Great Seer).

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Festival

Baekje Cultural Festival

  • Location: Gudurae in Buyeo-up and the entire Buyeo-up
  • Period: Early, mid-October every year

Baekje Cultural Festival began in 1955 in Buyeo, soon after the Korean War. Buyeo natives initiated a steering committee to host the festival.

Buyeo residents voluntarily donated to build Samchungsa Shrine at the foot of Mt. Buso to enshrine three loyal subjects (Seongchung, Heungsu, and Gyebaek) and held a sacrificial rite. Also, a suryukjae took place to console the spirit of Baekje women who threw themselves off the cliff when Buyeo was being demolished.

Back then, Baekje Cultural Festival only included rituals to console despair over Baekje’s ruination. However, people from other regions grew interested in the festival, which was overcrowded with people who came to watch.

The Baekje Cultural Festival began with rituals to console despair over Baekje’s ruination, but local cultural events were added over the years.

Eunsan Byeolsinje

  • Location: Entire Eunsan-myeon, Buyeo-gun
  • Period: Every March

Eunsan Byeolsinje is Chungcheongnam-do’s first Important Intangible Cultural Property of Korea and the ninth Important Intangible Cultural Property of Korea, designated in 1966.

Byeolsinje is a ritual for local gods that each region in the country has. Buyeo’s Eunsan Byeolsinje has its base in traditional shamanism. However, it has characteristics of a military ceremony, which makes the event more unique. It is one of the famous Byeolsinje in Korea, and people from different areas come to see the 20-day-long ritual that starts with the tree cutting to the ritual for the village guardian post (Jangseung).

However, the event is simplified now and is held every other year (one big and one mall). The significant ritual takes six days.

Mt. Yuwang memorial service

  • Location : Mt. Yuwang, Amsoo-ri, Yanghwa-myeon, Buyeo-gun
  • Period: August 16th and 17th of the lunar calendar (2 days)
  • Host: Mt. Yuwang Memorial Service Steering Committee
  • Event: Eve festival (ritual for King Uija and displaced people of Baekje), reenactment of Mt. Yuwang tragedy, bier play, street gut, seated gut, and Mt. Yuwang game, etc.
  • SummaryIt is an event to commemorate and console King Uija and 12,800 people of Baekje who were taken as captives in 660 to the Tang Dynasty. It takes place at Mt. Yuwang, Amsoo-ri, Yanghwa-myeon, Buyeo-gun.

Mt. Yuwang was where the people of Baekje met for the last time. Until 1949, women living within 100 li came together on August 17th of the lunar calendar to say hello to each other and have fun – the Mt. Yuwang game. Mt. Yuwang memorial service is the new version of this game revived in 1997.

Imcheon Chunghonje

  • Location: Seongheungsanseong Fortress, Gunsa-ri, Imcheon-myeon
  • Period : End of April(every year, 2 days)
  • Host:Imcheon-myeon Cooperative
  • Event: Signal fire ritual, mountain spirit ritual, a ritual for the loyal subject, lotus light parade
  • SummaryThis is the memorial service for unknown soldiers who fought against the allied forces of Silla and Tang China at the Seongheungsanseong Fortress in 700 when Baekje was demolished.

This was started in 1979 and takes place for two days at the end of April. On the first day, the lotus light parade to Seongheungsanseong Fortress takes place and the signal fire ritual is held at the beacon mound.

The following day is are history and culture parade, opening ceremony, and the ritual for loyal subjects. Various events such as traditional music performances, tug of war, gate ball competitions, and singing competitions occur in the afternoon.

Conclusion

You will learn a lot about Korean history and traditions by visiting this beautiful city, especially by visiting the Busosanseong fortress, walking in nature, and admiring beautiful landscapes. Then there is also the little boat trip on the Geumgang River.
You would find the city of Buyeo quiet and uncrowded. Without the crowds, it was nice to visit. In addition, the different sites are not too far from each other.

Buyeo is less well-known than the former capital of the rival Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju, but it has no shortage of cultural assets and sights, many of which are World Heritage Sites.

In July, there is the Seodong Lotus Festival at Gungnamji Pond. In September-October, the kingdom of Baekje is reborn thanks to the Baekje Cultural Festival. Baekje Cultural Land is a site where a life-size royal palace, temple, tombs, and period village are recreated for those who want to step back in time.

But if you cannot go to Buyeo during your stay in South Korea, you can always visit the Seoul Baekje Museum in Seoul’s Olympic Park.

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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