Introduction

   Situated in the mid-western part of Korea, 160 km south of Pyongyang, it is a beautiful city with a long history. It was the old capital of Koryo (918-1392), the first unified state of Korea, for nearly 500 years. The town is on the Military Demarcation Line which divides the Korean peninsula into two parts, drawn by foreign forces.

   It is also home to Koryo Insam, a world-famous medicinal herb.

   The area of Kaesong is a singular tourist destination. In the area there are Panmunjom and concrete wall as well as many places of historical interest and scenic spots. Visits to them will offer a glimpse of the time-honoured history and developed culture of Korea and the tragedy of the divided Korean nation.

   In Juche 102 (2013), 12 historical relics and remains in Kaesong were registered as the World Heritage Sites.

   You can visit Kaesong by train or by car and it is better to travel along the Pyongyang-Kaesong highway. Halfway between Pyongyang and Kaesong there is Sugok Tea House for travellers and a few tunnels further on, you can see fossil footprints of a dinosaur 180 million years ago.

Tourist attractions

Kaesong South Gate and the Bell of Yonbok Temple

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   It is located in Pugan-dong, Kaesong City.

   The gate was built from 1391 to 1393 in the Koryo period as the south gate of the inner wall of the walled city of Kaesong. Like all other old castle gates in Korea, it has a gable-roofed pavilion on a stone elevation. It is one of the World Heritage Sites. The Bell of the Yonbok Temple (founded in 1346), one of the three noted bells of Korea, is on the gate. Originally, it was in the Yonbok Temple (in Kaesong at that time). After the temple was burnt down in 1563, it was taken to the gate.

   Until early 1990, the bell tolled to give time-signal to the people in Kaesong. The sound is so clear and loud that it is said to be heard 40km away. Relief patterns on the bell are elegant and beautiful. It weighs about 14 tons and it is 3.12 m high, 23 cm thick and 1.9 m round at its mouth. It is the largest of the old bells remaining in the country. It is a valuable historical relic showing the high metal casting technique in the Koryo period.