I’m sure it must happen all the time that we accidentally touch a key, or lean on the keyboard, or brush the mouse (there’s an image to conjure with, mouse brushing!) without noticing and when we look at our open tabs there’s something quite mysterious and unexpected. I daresay occasionally there’s a nasty shock, but yesterday I suddenly discovered I was on a Wikipedia page that I hadn’t looked for,
I discovered the Samnyeon Sanseong Fortress in this way; I didn’t even know there was a fortress there. I didn’t even know there was a place of that name! The name means Three-Years’ Mountain Fortress, and on seeing it I wondered if maybe it was in Korea, not that I know more than the vaguest outline of anything about the country, split in two with a demilitarised zone in between, the Korean War happened in the 1950’s involving British and American service people fighting to prevent the communists taking over the whole of the peninsular. We view such wars very differently now, of course. The capital of the south is Seoul, the north is Pyongyang… I once had a Korean meal which was delicious, I don’t think I have ever met a Korean person…
Back to the Three-Years’ Mountain Fortress, Samnyeon Sanseong Fortress. It was called Three Years, because that was how long it took to build, in about 470 and it’s near the town of Boeun. It was built in the area known as Silla which was in the central and southern part of Korea. The fort was between 5500 and 6168 foot long, its walls were between 16 and 26 foot thick and built on vertical cliffs – what a magnificent structure it must have been! Wikipedia tells me it has ‘four gates, seven Ongseong (curved guard bastions), two sluice gates and five wells’, quite a spectacle, even in ruins as it is today.
The actual mountains were used in its construction, which was apparently common in that era:
The fortress is valuable because it shows what building techniques were employed by the Silla during the late fifth century. Additionally, Samnyeon Sanseong Fortress exhibits the characteristics typical of a Korean mountain fortress. There are two general classifications of Korean-style mountain fortress. The Pokok style is a fortress which surrounds the valley while the Teimeui style is a fortress where the walls are built around the peaks of the mountain, sometimes described like a folding screen across the mountain.
I don’t suppose I’ll ever be fortunate enough to visit Korea, but it does sound a fascinating country, and if I did visit this is the sort of place I would most like to see. Find out more here:
My featured image is from Tano Music, thanks to them, and is of a statue in Gwaereung which I believe is in the area of the ancient kingdom of Silla – please correct me if I’m wrong!