An important centre for contemporary South Korean ceramics, Yeoju-si has a picturesque setting on the banks of the Namhan River. It’s home to an ancient fortress built by the rulers of the Silla kingdom and a UNESCO-listed tomb, together with richly-adorned Buddhist temples.
Things to do in Yeoju
During the 1st century AD, King Pasa built the mountain fortress of Pasaseong-ji just downriver from Yeoju-si and it continued to be of strategic importance during successive dynasties. Today you can see the remains of its 1,800-metre-long wall along hiking trails that wind through the area.
Yeoju-si is home to the riverside Buddhist temple of Silleuksa, which was founded by the monk Wonhyo in 580 AD. Visit its brick pagoda, which houses a number of Buddha’s relics and is one of only a few brick temples remaining in South Korea.
Another temple not to miss is Godal-Saji, which was built in the mid-8th century by King Gyeongdeok. While there are only a few stone stupas left amidst its ruins, the carvings are of particular note and provide an impressive example of Goryeo dynasty craftsmanship.
Are you a history buff? Be sure to visit Yeoju-si, the Royal Tomb of King Sejong, considered the most influential figure in Korean history. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes not only the tomb of King Sejong and his wife Queen Soheon, but also an exhibition hall about his legacy and picturesque walking trails through the surrounding pine forests.
Getting around Yeoju
Yeoju-si is just over one hour’s drive east of Seoul and connected by regular public buses. Buses are also the main means of getting around Yeoju-si, although many of the sights are within walking distance of one another.