Wolsong Pavilion (Wolsongjeong; 월송정; map) was first built in 1326 during the Goryeo Dynasty. It rests in a forest with over 10,000 pine trees overlooking the white sands of Gunsan Beach (구산해수욕장; map) and the East Sea in Uljin County.
Wolsong is the southernmost of the Eight Scenic Spots in Gwandong (Gangwon Province coast). It’s one of two “scenic spots” in Uljin County, along with Mangyang Pavilion.
The pavilion’s name comes from two sources:
- “Wol” (월) translates to “moon.” Folklore says that the Kingdom of Silla’s four ancient explorers (신라사선) once played in the moonlight beneath the pines.
- Others believe “Wol” (월) refers to Wolguk, a region in China. Legend tells that those same explorers (신라사선) planted pine seedlings taken from Wolguk.
For over a thousand years, Koreans have revered Wolsong Pavilion and its serene backdrop of swaying pines and lapping waves.
- During the Silla Dynasty (57 BCE ~ 935 CE), before the pavilion was built, the ancient explorers (신라사선) visited this area and wrote about its beauty.
- Since the Goryeo Dynasty (918 ~ 1392), poets and kings — Sukjong and Jeongjo — composed poems about Wolsong. These poems hang in the pavilion.
- King Seongjeong (조선 성종; b. 1469) ordered Korean painters to search the kingdom’s provinces and paint its most awe-inspiring scenery. Painters chose Wolsong Pavilion and depicted it sitting amongst pines and surf.
Fourth Time’s the Charm
Wolsong Pavilion appears ancient in form, but vibrant. But it’s not because of preservation. This is the fourth iteration of Wolsong Pavilion.
- A provincial governor during the Joseon Dynasty rebuilt the Wolsong Pavilion in the late 1400s, about 150 years after it was first built.
- After Korea restored Wolsong Pavilion in 1933, the Japanese army destroyed it to suppress Korean culture during its brutal occupation (1910 ~ 1945).
- In 1964, a group of Koreans rebuilt Wolsong using modern techniques and materials. However, the pavilion looked nothing like the original.
- So Uljin County demolished the 1964 version of Wolsong Pavilion in 1980. They reassembled it to mimic the one built during the Goryeo Dynasty.
The Pavilion Today
Today, Wolsong Pavilion is a two-story structure with a giwa (기와) or tiled roof. Twenty-four round columns (6 long and 4 wide) extend from a granite foundation. They rise through the second-story floor to support the pavilion’s roof beams and eaves, which are adorned by intricate dancheong (단청) or traditional wood coloring.
Visitors can rest on the cool stone beneath Wolsong Pavilion. Or they can climb stairs to the second floor. There they can remove their shoes, sit on benches, and feel the sea breeze.
Engraved poems and a signboard written by President Choi Kyu-ha in 1980 decorate Wolsong Pavilion’s interior.
Nearby Wolsong Pavilion, find:
- Wolsongjeong Certification Center (월송정 인증센터; map) for your Bike Passport.
- Pyeonghae Sand Wetland Ecological Park (평해사구습지 생태공원; map)
Eight Scenic Spots in Gwandong
After the Silla Dynasty (신라; 57 BCE ~ 935 CE) unified the Korean peninsula, four legendary Hwarang (화랑; elite warriors) — Yeongrang, Sullang, Namrang, and Ansang — set off to explore Korea.
As they traveled through Yeongdong (영동) — today’s Gangwon Province’s coast — they wrote of Eight Scenic Spots in Gwandong (관동팔경). Listed north to south, they are:
- Chongseok Pavilion (Chongseokjeong; 총석정; map) — a pavilion built on stone pillars overlooking the East Sea in North Korea.
- Samilpo Lake (삼일포; map) — a lagoon that was once a lake beside the sea in North Korea.
- Cheonggan Pavilion (Cheongganjeong; 청간정; map) — a coast pavilion in Goseong County.
- Naksan Temple (Naksansa; 낙산사; map) — a 1,500-year-old temple and historic treasure along the coast in Yangyang County.
- Gyeongpo Grand Pavilion (Gyeongpodae; 경포대; map) — a 700-year-old pavilion on a coastal lake in Gangneung City.
- Jukseoru Pavilion (죽서루; map) — an 800-year-old pavilion built on a riverside boulder in Samcheok City.
- Mangyang Pavilion (망양정; map) — a 700-year-old pavilion on a hill with a panoramic view of the East Sea in Uljin County.
- Wolsong Pavilion (Wolsongjeong; 월송정; map) — a 700-year-old pavilion in a pine forest overlooking the East Sea in Uljin County.