Photos of Cheongju and Songnisan National Park, North Chungcheong Province, Korea

Chungcheongbuk-do Flag
Images of the World
Flag of Korea

Cheongju and Songnisan National Park, North Chungcheong Province

Cheongju is the capital and largest city of Chungcheongbuk-do (North Chungcheong Province) in the middle of South Korea, with a population of around 840,000. Notably, it was here that, during the Goryeo Dynasty in 1377, at the temple Heungdeoksa the world’s oldest extant book with movable metal type, was printed: the Jikji, a Korean Buddhist document. The Early Printing Museum in Cheongju, with a fascinating display about it, only can show a replica; however, the original is in the National Library in France.

Street scene in Cheongju
Gongdanno road
Early Printing Museum
Copy of the Jikji
Display printing the Jikji
Heungdeoksa site
Songnisan town
Ancient steles
Temple guard statue
Beopjusa Palsangjeon
Beopju-sa temple
Maitreya Buddha statue
Buddha statues
At Beopju-sa temple
Paintings at Beopju-sa
Buddha statues
Commemorative stele
Steles and monuments
Buddha carving
Mokyokso pond
Bell pavilion, Beopju-sa
Iron cauldron
Roadside market, Songnisan
Roadside market, Songnisan

Mt. Songnisan National Park, comprising 1,058-metre high Mt. Songnisan and the valleys of Hwayang, Seonyu, and Ssanggok, in the middle of the Sobaeksanmaek Mountains, is one of Korea’s most beautiful sites, with sharp granite peaks and deep valleys. Songnisan, at the very centre of South Korea, became a National Park in 1970 and has an area of 275 km².

One of Korea’s largest temples, Beopjusa, on Mt. Songnisan, is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It was initially built during the Silla era by a monk named Uisin. Its five-storey wooden pagoda, dating back to 553 CE, is believed to be the oldest in Korea. Next to it stands a striking 33-metre high gold plated statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the Cheongdongmireukbul: the tallest Buddha statue in the world; it was built in April 1990 using 160 tons of bronze and, in 2002, plated with 80 kilograms of pure gold.