SKETCHING MOUNT NAMSAN Peter Armstrong – TAASA Review June 2009


This article was originally found in the June 2009 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 18, Issue 2, Page 10).

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W hen the Mongols burnt the buildings of Hwangryongsa (Hwangryong temple) (553-1238) in their sustained invasions from 1231, it was the greatest temple of the Silla capital, Kyongju (BC57-AD936) and one of the wonders of East Asia.

Nine centuries later, sitting among the foundation stones of its Geumdang (Golden Hall) looking across the platform of the nine storey pagoda, Namsan fills the landscape with its misty blue bulk defining the southern extent of the city, its brooding presence changing with the seasons, the weather and the time of day.

While neither large nor high in terms of the peaks of Korea, Namsan has a majestic and pervasive presence in the urban landscape of Kyongju...