Taejongdae park which is located on the island of Yeongdo-gu in Busan. On our way we drove past the infamous Busan port where many foreigners have left to do visa-runs in Japan.
It was starting to get crowded at the park entrance, but I think we arrived at a good time. The air was a bit chilly but the sun was shining enough to make things warm.
We went up a road to the elephant-train waiting area and bought our tickets for the ride.
Finally, it was our turn and so we got on and made the way up the winding hillside.
This park is known for many natural phenomenons, which include 200 types of trees, fantastic sea cliffs and exposed geology, along with a lighthouse and temple. It also comes with, of course, some history. For instance it is said that the park was named after King Tejong Meyeol from the Silla Kingdom because he practiced archery in this area after unification of the Three Kingdoms. In addition there is a social significance to this spot being:
At the entrance is a monument to the five neutral nations that contributed medical support during the Korean War (1950-1953).
The observatory had a restaurant inside and also a deck outside for looking out across the Sea of Korea or South Sea....hmmm.
On clear days, you can see Japan's Oryukdo and Tsushima Islands from the observatory.
We are getting closer~
What you are looking at here is called Shinsonhae or the "Suicide Rock". Basically it is a large and flat rock that was once under the ocean but due to geological reasons is exposed today.
Why "suicide rock"? Because the cliffs of the island were unfortunately famous for people jumping off of them. Since then the government has made a monument to these folks (the mother and child statue -- not pictured).Shinseonhae is a large and flat rock, which is located on the right side of lighthouse in Taejongdae.
Shinseondae got its name as it was told that Taoist hermits used to hang around here in the past.
Taoist hermit rocks in Taejongdae. It has been told that there used to be handwriting of 'Shinseondae' by Choi Chi won, one of the famous scholars in Shiila period.
But I think nowadays one needs to look past this sad history and try to take in some of the mystical and geological wonders of this place.
On the way there...
Looking at that picture you also have to take in the mythical tale that surrounds what you are seeing. Look in the upper right area where a spire (tall rock) is coming out. This has a legend behind it:
Under the lighthouse of this resort is a rock called Sinseon Rock, named after the myth that gods and goddesses came down here to relax. At this rock is a figure called Mangbuseok, named after the story of a woman who waited for her husband who had been taken to Japan. Taejongdae is also famous for the ritual of praying for rain, performed when there are droughts, and rain on the 10th of lunar May is called the 'Taejong Rain'.
|Mangbooseok stands lonely right on the Taosit hermits' rock. |
Moonbooseok means 'stone waiting for husband'.
The story is about a legendary faithful wife who died and was turned to stone waiting for her husband the stone on which a faithful wife stood waiting for her husband until she perished You feel sad just looking at the rock.
Poor thing! I hope I never become a stone waiting for my husband... But seriously folks that is a nice myth to place upon this geological sight.
To get out there we headed down some stairs through a little tunnel where on the tiles many folks had put their well wishes up.
We made our way onto that big slab of rock.
To simplify the geological history of this area I am going to quote for you from a website:
Here is unparalleled scenery harmonized with fantastically-shaped rocks eroded by water, surging waves, and subtropical forests. Sinseonam, an uplifted coast under the lighthouse and the most beautiful in Taejongdae, was formed 120,000 years ago. The present Taejongdae was formed after the forth, that is the last, thawing epoch by the intermittent rising of the ocean floor.That first sentence that describes how we are able to see the rocks today is what fascinated me the most while I sat down and looked up at the sea-cliff. I couldn't help but feel small compared to the gigantic history before my eyes. In this area there are places where you can even spot dinosaur tracks. It was another travel moment in my life where I felt I had come to a special place and it was not by coincidence.
Well JH must of grown tired of me sitting and staring at the rocks, plus it was cold and windy out so we both figured it was time to get our butts inside the cafe. We did so and warmed up with some ramyeon and tea.
Afterwards we headed back to the elephant train to go back to the car, where we would head out to Seoul.
Till next time!