Mysterious Ganghwa

21.02.2010

Ganghwa Island, which lies about 60 km north-west of the South Korean capital — a real treasure trove for history buffs. Moreover, both ancient and modern.


Ganghwa always had a special meaning for the monarchs of Korea. By and large it was a place where kings had fled the country when danger loomed over the capital capture enemies. The island was turned into the capital in exile. This was the XIII century, when the Mongols invaded Korea, the same thing happened in the XVII century in the attack came to power in China, the Manchus.
And then the island has played an important role in the country of morning freshness. This is where the major battles took place with representatives of Korean Western powers (in particular France and the USA), who were trying to force Korea to emerge from self-imposed isolation. This eventually happened in 1876, the Japanese and the relevant bilateral agreement was signed again on Ganghwa.
Yet in Korea Ganghwa island is better known as dolmens. These structures of giant boulders are found here in large numbers. Specialists they counted 157 pieces, with many different types of what is happening in the same area so often. The uniqueness of Ganghwa Dolmen recognized and globally. In December 2000, they were listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. The island has an interesting theme park dedicated to this culture, where, along with a copy of these dolmens adjoin those that are famous for other countries.
Interesting and illustrative diagrams immediately explain how the ancient people of the Bronze Age contrived without the help of cranes and other heavy machinery to erect a modern such massive structures. On the island in late July — early August, the colorful festival of dolmens.

 


In addition to Ganghwa dolmens can be uniquely named and island fortresses and forts. In the past, he defended the approaches to the capital from the sea, so it is from the XVII century, there was a whole network of defensive structures. On the island garrisons were five, seven fortresses, 53 fort and nine cannon batteries — a real military island. Here and there were major battles with the ships of some Western powers.
However, to create the impression that this aspect of Koreans remember somehow less likely than those same dolmens. No, no one is hiding, where the fortress, many of them — the same forts Kvansobo, Tokchichzhin, Endutonde and others — are recreated in their historical form: there are guns, restored ramparts, walls, but this comes to mind somehow passing. Koreans in general can be understood: as a rule, in spite of the heroism of their ancestors, they lost the battle with the ships of their superior powers of the West, and Japan, followed by all other countries, has made the opening of the country against the will of the rulers of Korea.
But for historians of all these forts Ganghwa recreated with monuments of great interest. They are given the chance to come into contact with history. The fort Tokchichzhin, by the way, there are some very interesting monument. This stele, established in 1876, warns that foreign ships stick to the Korean coast prohibited. Korea pursued a policy of self-imposed isolation and refused to contacts with other countries. The monument — a clear evidence of the policy.

 


In addition to the dolmens and fortresses on Ganghwa quite interesting main local hill — Mount Manisan (468 meters). Rise to the top will not be hard, and take the road for about an hour. From the top of a beautiful view of both the island itself and in the Yellow Sea surrounding it. There's also located near the peak and sacred altar Chhamsondan. Koreans believe that he created himself the founder of the Korean state — the first ruler of Tangun, who lived nearly five thousand years ago. But historians still notice that the evidence of such venerable age of the altar there. However, none of its sacred status is not in question. There spend offerings sky and there, when South Korea's national sport games begin, light the fire, which then carry the main stadium of the event. In general, just like in the Olympics.
Well worth a visit and the two major Buddhist monastery of the island — and Chondynsa Pomunsa. In the first tablets were stored for a long time with the sacred scriptures of Buddhism — the famous Tripitaka Corian, which is in the middle of the XIII century was moved to Haeinsa temple in southeastern Korea. Pomunsa monastery, which has existed since the VII century, is famous for the rock cut out the image of the Buddha, as well as a cave with 22 statues of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas.
Ganghwa well-known and as one of the country's best places to observe the migratory birds. In the migration season, even from abroad, tourists come here to see the tens of thousands of birds that choose Ganghwa as a place for short-term respite.
Although Ganghwa surrounded by the sea, it is not very good — small, dirty enough, strong sense of ebb and flow, so sometimes you have to wade through the mud for about a kilometer to reach at least a meter deep. In addition, all located next to North Korea, that leaves its mark on the rhythm of life and leisure: after dark to go to the beaches, as a rule, is prohibited. So the sea and sea holiday — not a "fad" Ganghwa, but on the part of the dolmens and fortresses this island in South Korea, there is very little competition.


Oleg Kir'yanov

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