|Seoul's Bugak-san 북악산
the Inner-Northern Guardian Mountain
originally named Baegak-san
Part of the Bukhan-san Sub-range
Oriental Arch Gyeongbok:
At Taejo's behest, master geomancers (practitioners of pungsu) fanned out across the land, searching for the ideal
spot to build a fitting capital city. One such site was discovered near modern-day Daejeon at the foot of Mt.
Gye-ryeong. With Taejo's blessing, work began quickly on the site and soon foundation stones were readied in the
ground. However, work abruptly ceased when Taejo became convinced that Hanyang (modern-day Seoul) would
make a better site. Taejo was persuaded by the prophecies of Doseon, a 10th-century priest and master geomancer
who aided the founder of the previous dynasty in the selection of a capital. Doseon had correctly prophesied the
founding of Goryeo, and had made a prediction that the next dynasty would base itself at Hanyang and rule for 500 years.
Taejo decided to heed the ancient priest and moved the capital to Hanyang, fulfilling the prophecy. What he could not
have known was that his dynasty did indeed last about 500 years as Doseon predicted, surviving until 1910 when
Korea was annexed by the Japanese Empire.
Taejo's geomancers found at Hanyang the potential for an ideal capital. Using pungsu, they selected four sites for
royal residences where the topography of the land heralded good fortune for the dynasty. The most auspicious of all
sites was the northernmost one, and it was there that they decided to build the main royal palace and major
government buildings of the young Joseon dynasty.
|the craggy western face of Bugak-san, with Cheonghwa-dae seen in front of it,
as seen from the lower southern slope of Inwang-san (to Bugak's southwest)
|the equally-craggy eastern face of Bugak-san, as seen from the North Gate area above
Samcheong-dong, eastern trailhead for climbing Bugak-san along the old fortress wall.
|From this angle during the hike, looking westward,
Inwang-san can be seen in the distance to Bugak-san's right.
Bugak-san as seen every day from downtown Seoul, above the Gwanghwa-mun
Plaza and left of the statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin -- photo by Robert Koehler
Gwanghwa-mun Gate and Gyeongbok Palace in front of Bugak-san and its eastern ridge,
peaks of Samgak-san seen behind, at sunset. Excellent photo by my friend Robert Koehler.
|Cheongwha-dae Presidential Mansion in front of Bugak-san
|Gwanghwa-mun Gate in front of Bugak-san, with Samgak-san seen in the right background, in 1904.
|Donhwa-mun Gate of Changdeok-gung Palace in front of Bugak-san, in 1904.
|the south face of Bugak-san behind the Sejong Plaza, Gwanghwamun area, October 2012
|the west face of Bugak-san as seen from the Seokpa-jeong Villa, October 2012