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Tangeumdae Park

Saejae Bike Path
Learn about Tangeumdae Park, a riverfront park with a deep history.

Tangeumdae Park (탄금대; map) sits on Daemun Mountain (대문산; map; 107 m) where the South Han River and Dal Stream (달천; Dalcheon) converge in downtown Chungju City.

The park’s site gained fame for two historical events.

Chungju Light World (충주라이트월드) glows nightly near Tangeumdae Park (탄금대) in Chungju.
Chungju Light World (충주라이트월드) glows nightly near Tangeumdae Park (탄금대) in Chungju.

Ureuk Paradise

Tangeumdae Park rocks and pines attracted Ureuk (우륵), a legendary musician that lived in the 500s. He would perch upon a bolder, gaze out into the South Han River and strum his gayageum (가야금), a traditional stringed Korean instrument, plucked like a zither.

During the time of the Three Kingdoms, Ureuk foresaw the overthrow of the Goguryeo (고구려; 37 BCE ~ 668 ACE) and the ascension of the Kingdom of Silla. The Silla Kings, therefore, recognized Ureuk as the preeminent musician of the land.

Sin Rip’s Twelve Trips

The year was 1592. Japan invaded Korea’s Joseon Dynasty (1392~1897; 대조선국), sparking the Imjin Wars (1592~1598).

From Busan in the southeast, the imperial army stormed north, wiping out all villages and settlements in its path.

After crossing the Mungyeong Saejae Pass, they landed in Chungju City (충주시; map), in the middle of the peninsula.

June 7, 1592. Korea’s decimated southern army joined with northern reinforcements on the Chungju plains to face the unstoppable Japanese Imperial army in the Battle of Chungju. If they fell, the Japanese had a clear path to Hanseong (Seoul), the Joseon capital.

General Sin Rip (신립), leader of Korea’s army, station himself on a Daemun Mountain cliff in Tangeumdae Park. Overlooking the battle, he motivated his troops and fired his longbow at the enemy invaders.

To improve his accuracy, Sin Rip sprinted up and down Daemun Mountain’s cliff and soaked his longbow’s strings in the South Han’s waters.

Japan’s experienced army and superior artillery defeated Korea’s battle fatigued troops. Sin Rip lost almost all of his 8,000 men. In disgrace, he drowned himself in the South Han.

Today Tangeumdae Park holds a statue dedicated to Sin Rip. The cliff where he sprinted up and down during the Battle of Chungju is now called Yeoldudae (열두대) or “twelve,” the number of trips Sin Rip made to soak his longbow in the South Han River.

Tangeumdae also holds a cultural museum, sculpture park, sport facilities, and more.