Catholic Pilgrim (B) 11 days
- Myeongdong Cathedral
- Seosomun Park
- Saenamteo Execution Site
- Jeoldusan Beheading Hill
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- National Folk Museum of Korea
- Insa-dong Antique Shop Street
- Namdaemun Market
- Cheonjinam Holy Ground
- Yeonpung Holy Ground
- Hahoemaeul Village
- Gyeongju National Museum
- Donggung palace and Wolji pond
- Half Moon Fortress
- Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory
- Tumuli Park
- Seokguram Grotto
- Bulguksa Temple
- Poseokjeong Bower
- Seongdong Market
- Tongdosa Temple
- Jangdaegol Sacred Place
- UN Memorial Cemetery
- Yongdusan Park
- Jagalchi Fish Market
- POW Camp
- Namhae Drive
- Gacheon Village
- Gokseong Cathedral
- Hwaeomsa Temple
- Gwanghallu Pavilion
- Jeonju Hanok Village
- Jeondong Cathedral
- Pungnammun Gate
- Gungnamji Pond
- Jeongrimsa Pagoda
- Buyeo National Museum
- Busosan Fortress
- Gongju National Museum
- Songsanri Tombs
- Oeammaeul Village
- Hongju Holy Ground
- Haemi Fortress
- Solmoe Holy Ground
- Mirinae Holy Ground
- Hwaseong Fortress
Click on the days to access the programs quick
|Days||Visits and Activities||Distance|
|Day 1||Arrive Seoul||60km|
|Day 3||Seoul - Gwangju - Yeonpung - Andong||290km|
|Day 4||Andong - Gyeongju||140km|
|Day 6||Gyeongju - Yangsan - Busan||210km|
|Day 7||Busan - Geoje - Tongyeong - Namhae - Suncheon||250km|
|Day 8||Suncheon - Gokseong - Gurye - Namwon - Jeonju||160km|
|Day 9||Jeonju - Buyeo - Gongju - Asan||160km|
|Day 10||Asan - Hongseong - Haemi - Dangjin - Anseong - Suwon - Seoul||260km|
Day 1 Arrive Seoul (- - -)
Touching down at Incheon International Airport places you in the heart of Korea. After you clear Passport and Customs control, your tour guide will greet you at the main passenger terminal and transport you to your hotel.
Day 2 Seoul (B)
Your exploration this morning begins with a driving tour of Seoul, featuring sites such as Seoul Plaza, City Hall, Cheonggye Square and pedestrian-friendly Gwanghwamun Plaza that is hemmed in on both sides by rushing traffic and office buildings. The plaza is lined on each side with 365m long streamlets, two centimeters deep and one meter across, the stone bed of the plaza's east side waterway engraved with important events in chronological order from 1392 to 2008.
Standing high on a stone pillar is a statue of Yi Sunsin who had engaged in twenty-three naval battles and emerged victorious in all of them during the Hideyoshi invasion (1592-1598). King Sejong who propagated the Korean alphabet in the 15th century is also honored with prominent statue. On August 16, 2014, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in this plaza to beatify 124 Korean martyrs. Near the southwest corner of the plaza is Korea's Kilometer Zero, marking the distances to 64 cities around the world, including Seoul's antipode, Montevideo, Uruguay, 19,606km.
Step back in time to when life was gracefully slow and discover Gyeongbokgung Palace, a particularly charming spot that represents a colorful and turbulent side of the capital's 500-year history. Depending on timing, you may witness the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony featuring parade, password verification, duty shift and patrolling the gate. Accompanied by a court band with its colorful costumes and royal flags, the ceremony is performed daily basis at 10:00 and 14:00 except Tuesdays, although it is cancelled in case of rain or extremely hot or cold weather.
Up from the gates is a spacious stone-paved courtyard that is fully enclosed by wooden cloisters, and at the center of which runs three footpaths through two rows of rank stones, indicating the positions of the officials with the highest rank being closer to the hall.
Standing majestically on top of a two-tiered stone platform that is lined with detailed balustrades is Geunjeongjeon Hall, where the king formally granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations of national importance, presided over large official functions, and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors. Check out the royal throne and a large painting, depicting sun, moon, five peaks, streams and pine trees, which was the crucial signifier of the king. And up in the center of the ceiling, the bright golden dragons in bold relief indicate the presence of the king.
At the back of the throne hall is a group of court offices. Displayed in front of the King's official quarters is sundial, conceived in order to catch the shadow of the sun, which tells time and 24 periods of seasonal change from the winter solstice to the summer solstice.
Sitting on the island in the rectangular lake is Gyeonghoeru. Supported by 48 square and cylindrical massive stone pillars representing the idea of Yin and Yang, this magnificent pavilion was used for many purposes ranging from receptions to national examinations.
Gangnyeongjeon is the king's sleeping and living quarters while Gyotaejeon is the queen's domain containing a number of halls. The noted feature of these main buildings is an absence of a top roof ridge.
Amisan Garden, landscaped with four hexagonal chimneys in orange bricks, is seldom noticed by the hurried visitors. Jagyeongjeon is the queen dowager's residence. Although less colorful, it is worth noting the wall, adorned with floral designs and the chimneys with ten longevity symbols.
Hyangwonjeong features a small pond with a manmade islet that supports a beautiful two-story pavilion. Behind this serene garden is Geoncheonggung, where the king and queen could relax in peace and quiet. It was here that the first electric lights in the country were installed in 1887 after 8 years of Thomas Edison's invention and a tragic chapter in Korea's history was recorded when empress Myeongseong was assassinated by the sword-bearing Japanese assassins in the early morning of 8 October 1895, allegedly under orders from Miura Goro.
Your visit to the National Folk Museum of Korea will familiarize you with wealthy culture of this friendly and picturesque nation. It is an excellent facility to illustrate the history of traditional life of the Korean people from the prehistoric age to the Joseon dynasty. The permanent exhibition features life and work, costumes and ornaments, handicrafts and technology, educations, living quarters, dietary life, oriental medicine, performing arts and games, beliefs and rituals, and socio cultural life.
Insa-dong is known as the center of traditional Korean art and antiques. Clustered along the main street and alleys are numerous shops dealing in antiques, oriental art supplies, and modern Korean art of all types and styles. Many scour the main street, but the back alleys do spring some unexpected surprises. Here, you may want to buy some souvenirs or simply wander and browse at leisure admiring upscale art galleries, antique shops and cultural ambience.
You will tour the centuries-old Namdaemun Market brimming with well over 11,000 shops selling anything you can imagine. The whole area is a labyrinth of street vendors and buildings. The market is seriously crowded, so be prepared to get bumped around. A fantastic place to haggle over the price to get the best deal on something you want or simply admire the vibrancy of this massive market.
At the western entrance of the market in the middle of a traffic circle stands Sungnyemun. It is a formidable and iconic construct that served as the southern gate of the wall that surrounded Seoul during the period of the Joseon Dynasty.
Day 3 Seoul - Gwangju - Yeonpung - Andong (B) 290Km
Depart Seoul early this morning to arrive in Andong. Your pilgrim begins with a visit to Cheonjinam where Korean Catholicism was born. It initially served as a forum for academic discussions on Confucianism in the mid-18th century, and its Catholic contribution was long unrecognized. However, historic records and headstone scripts attest to the place's significance as the Catholic origin of Korea. It is where Lee Byeok, profoundly moved by Matteo Ricci's De Deo Verax Disputatio, turned a study group into a religious gathering in 1779. He also urged Lee Seung-hun to go to Beijing to be baptized, which he did in 1784. After being baptized by a French priest in the Beijing church, Lee Seung-hun came back to Korea in the autumn of 1784 with religious books, medals, statues and other holy materials. Lee Seunghun in turn baptized Lee Byeok who went on an active proselytizing campaign. His efforts soon drew pressure and threats from the society and the courts, and Lee was soon placed under house arrest. During this time he refused to drink or eat or even change clothes, devoting himself wholly to praying and meditating on Catholicism. But fifteen days of fasting and meditation completely drained him and he passed away on June 14, 1785 (lunar calendar) at the age of 32. He remained true to his faith until his last moment. Cheonjinam holds a large space available for outdoor masses, the 200th year anniversary monument of the church and a cemetery of the five founding members Jeong Yakyong, Lee Byeok, Gwon Cheolshin, Gwon Ilshin and Lee Seunghun.
Catholicism had a bloody beginning in Korea, as its early years were marked by persecution and martyrdom. En route, stop off at Yeonpung holy ground and learn about an early settlement of Catholics and persecutions. Many Catholics were arrested in 1866 and martyred here.
Andong is a stronghold of Confucianism in Korea that has deeply influenced the lives of Koreans in all aspects. You will explore UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hahoemaeul from the 15th century. It is the best preserved traditional village portraying and spanning the life of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) and some 480 Korean traditional houses, both large and small, are still fully functioning. As you take a walk in the narrow alleys, enjoy the rustic and old charm of this unique village. You cannot possibly miss a 600-years old zelkova tree, the home to the village spirit. At the tree's base is where residents still make their wishes. The village is also known for traditional festival, Hahoe Mask Dance which gave common people the opportunity to mock those in authority, and in particular the Byeolsingut, a shaman ritual exorcising evil spirits, dating back to the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392).
Day 4. Andong - Gyeongju (B) 140Km
With leisurely time to pack, travel to Gyeongju, an ancient capital of Silla (BC57-AD935), often dubbed as Museum without Walls. Today, you are treated to one of the ten most historically significant sites in the world with ancient temples, weathered stone pagodas, royal tombs, Buddhist bas-reliefs, and fortress ruins.
Visit Gyeongju National Museum for a great insight into Silla culture and history. The first thing that you will notice is The Bell of King Seongdeok, the largest extant bell in Korea. You must certainly stand in awe before the bell from the 8th century with such artistic beauty of design. The bell is distinguished not only for its outstanding beauty but also for its long reverberating sound, the incredibly precise casting technique, in addition to the sad legend surrounding it. On entering the museum, you will marvel at the priceless archaeological and historical artifacts including splendid gold crowns, earrings, belts, ornaments, glassware, potteries, and clay figures as well as a royal barge.
You will tour Donggung palace and Wolji pond, a pleasure garden built to commemorate the victory of Silla, and later used as the recreational area for the Silla's royal family, followed by a relaxed walking tour covering the ruins of Banwolseong or Half Moon Fortress where Silla palace and eight fortress gates stood. There is a Seokbinggo, a freezer made of stones. Half of the structure is underground while the other half is above ground with three air vents on top. You can feel the cold oozing out of this simple structure. Near fortress is Gyerim, literally meaning Rooster Forest. It is a sacred woodland area where progenitor of the Gyeongju Kim family, Kim Alji, was supposed to have been born.
Check out Cheomseongdae, known as the world's oldest existing astronomical observatory. Each stone used in the observatory bears symbolic meaning; the same number of the days of the year by lunar calendar, the number of the major stars, the months of the year and the numbers of the seasonal divisions. Nearby Tumuli Park encompasses 23 huge tomb mounds where Silla rulers were buried. One of the tombs, Cheonmachong, is opened to the public and you can go inside and see how the tombs were made and replicas of the treasures excavated in 1973.
Day 5 Gyeongju (B)
With a full day to further explore the delights of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Seokguram grotto. It is the home of the serene stone Buddha of the eighth century. Inside, a white statue of a seated Buddha in a sublime state of enlightenment, is surrounded by 37 relief figures of Bodhisattvas, disciples, devas, and guardian kings. The grotto represents the magnificent harmony of religion, science and the arts of Buddhism, symbolizing the pure land in which Buddha resides.
A short ride leads you to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bulguksa temple, where you will witness the impressive gates, symbolic bridges leading up to the world of Buddha, graceful architectures, Three-storied Seokgatap and highly ornate Dabotap blending well into the architectural harmony. At Gwaneumjeon hall, check out the image of the Avalokitesvara who is referred to as the Bodhisattva of Compassion and has a thousand hands, and eyes in each so as to reach out to those in need of help. You will see a gilded statue of Vairocana with the gesture of the first wisdom, Sakyamuni Buddha along with sixteen figures of Buddha's disciples sitting in deep meditation, and a gilt-bronze Amitabha Buddha who is the ruler of the Western Paradise Sukhavati. The architectural design of Bulguksa is one of constrained dignity, peace, and harmony and the temple still remains one of the most remarkable achievements of the ancient Far East.
Next up is Gyeongju National Museum. The first thing that you will notice is The Bell of King Seongdeok, the largest extant bell in Korea. You must certainly stand in awe before the bell from the 8th century with such artistic beauty of design. The bell is distinguished not only for its outstanding beauty but also for its long reverberating sound, the incredibly precise casting technique, in addition to the sad legend surrounding it. On entering the museum, you will marvel at the priceless archaeological and historical artifacts including splendid gold crowns, earrings, belts, ornaments, glassware, potteries, and clay figures as well as a royal barge.
Afterwards, explore Donggung palace and Wolji pond, a pleasure garden built to commemorate the victory of Silla, and later used as the recreational area for the Silla's royal family, then followed by a relaxed walking tour covering the ruins of Banwolseong or half moon fortress where Silla palace and eight fortress gates stood. There is a Seokbinggo, a freezer made of stones. Half of the structure is underground while the other half is above ground with three air vents on top. You can feel the cold oozing out of this simple structure. Near fortress is Gyerim, literally meaning Rooster Forest. It is a sacred woodland area where progenitor of the Gyeongju Kim family, Kim Alji, was supposed to have been born.
Then, check out the world's oldest existing astronomical observatory, Cheomseongdae. Each stone used in the observatory bears symbolic meaning; the same number of the days of the year by lunar calendar, the number of the major stars, the months of the year and the numbers of the seasonal divisions. Nearby Tumuli Park encompasses 23 huge tomb mounds where Silla rulers were buried. One of the tombs, Cheonmachong, is opened to the public and you can go inside and see how the tombs were made and replicas of the treasures excavated in 1973.
With time to visit, stroll down the alleys of downtown Gyeongju admiring ancient charm blending well with modern culture. You will also explore Seongdong market close to the Gyeongju train station, where you will see a classic example of the Korean market with lots of fresh vegetables, seafood, food stands and some textiles. The market spills out on to the street and local vendors, many elderly women sell home-grown vegetables and grains.
Day 6 Gyeongju - Yangsan - Busan (B) 120km
Busan is Korea's second largest city surrounded by the ocean on one side, and mountains on the other. Its deep harbor and gentle tides have allowed it to grow into the largest port in Korea and the fifth largest in the world. It is also a center of industry and commerce, a thriving metropolis formed unusually long in shape along its coastal line.
En route, stop at Tongdosa temple, literally meaning 'pass through to enlightenment'. The approach to the temple is completely entrancing. Magnificently set by a lane of pine trees dancing in the wind and beside which a mountain stream sings a babbling song, a distinctive and exalting place. Tongdosa was founded in AD 646 and is comprised of 35 buildings. The main hall is unique in that it does not contain a statue of the Buddha, but rather a window looking out onto the Diamond Precepts Altar. This altar leads up to a platform with a bell-shaped stupa that contains the cremated remains of the Buddha himself, thus earning a name the Temple of the Buddha.
While in Busan, visit Jangdaegol where 8 Catholics were executed in 1868. All that can be seen here are monuments and stone marks that symbolizing Via Dololosa. Today, Gwangan Cathedral is assinged to take care of this sacred place and you will have a chance to visit it.
Next, visit UN memorial cemetery where 2,300 deceased soldiers from sixteen Korean War allies rest in honored serenity. Learn about the Korean War and pay tribute to those who dedicated their lives to the World Peace. During the period of 1951-1954, remains of approximately 11,000 fallen of the UN Forces were buried here. Thereafter, most were repatriated to their home countries. It is the permanent home of war heroes of the following nations. Australia (281), Canada (378), France (44), Netherlands (117), New Zealand (34), Norway (1), South Africa (11), Republic of Korea (36), Turkey (462), United Kingdom (885), USA (36), Unknown soldiers (4), Non-belligerents (11).
You will tour Yongdusan Park where people of all ages gather for recreational activities. Sitting on top of the hillock of a steep slope is Busan tower topped by an observatory, overlooking the hilly terrain of this mountainous coastal city and the harbor in a breathtaking view. At the smack dab in the middle of the park stands the statue of Yi Sunsin, who is credited with the perfection of the first iron-clad warship in history. You will also see a flower clock and a Busan citizen's bell that they ring on New Years' Day, March 1 and August 15.
Just off the park is Gwangbokro Street, full of shops selling everything from bargains to luxury items. Adjacent is a maze of small streets alive with color, sidewalks sprinkled with unique shops and local eateries. Enjoy the vibrant ambience as you leisurely make your way to the BIFF square, another area packed with trendy shops, movie theaters and food stalls. The square is Busan’s modern movie district which was originally little more than a pair of cinemas that were built over half a century ago. However, major renovations took place ahead of the first Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), and the newly transformed district was named BIFF Square on August 14, 1996.
Across the street from the square is a fascinating Jagalchi fish market, a great attraction located dockside. Here you will find a diverse array of seafood on display as you walk along the narrow alleys of street vendors. A nearby indoor market features live fish in the tanks and the upstairs are dried fish along with many restaurants selling raw fish at reasonable prices. The market is really a visual and culinary treat.
Day 7 Busan - Geoje - Tongyeong - Namhae - Suncheon (B) 250km
Today, you will experience the deepest highway on earth, Geoga bridge, a 8.2km-long bridge which is a combination of two cable-stayed bridges built on the open sea, a number of approach bridges and tunnels built on three islands in the middle and a 3.7km-long immersed tube constructed 48m below mean water level.
Geoje is a shipbuilding Mecca featuring several natural harbors. And once was the final port of call of the SS Meredith Victory at Christmas 1950. It is best known for evacuating more than 14,000 refugees in a single mission in the largest humanitarian rescue operation by a single ship during the Korean War.
There’s time to visit the POW Camp which at one time held around 170,000 prisoners in 28 facilities until an armistice was concluded in 1953. The former camp has been reborn as a historic park with various exhibition halls that help visitors comprehend the actual situation at the time and gives visitors an up close lesson on the devastating consequences of the war. POW camp accommodated 150,000 North Korean soldiers and 20,000 Chinese soldiers.
Tongyeong is a traditional seaport of great charm and historical interests. Visit Lacquerware Museum and admire the sophisticated craftsmanship and nacre lacquerwares that have long been sought after by collectors and aficionados worldwide. Next up is Dongpirang village where you will enjoy witty and delightful murals and sweeping view of Tongyeong harbor. This village was on the verge of being torn down, but what were once shabby houses now welcome visitors with radiant colors. On a long stretch of quay-side is Jungang market, and you will witness a lively atmosphere as vendors try to make a deal. Rows of seafood restaurants and local eateries offer anything that comes from the ocean, the sights, sounds and smells of a fishing port. At the nearby Gangguan port, you may want to step in to the replica turtle ship from the 16th century.
The southern boundary of Korea is a sunken coastline which has created an irregular pattern of bays and inlets. Namhae has long been popular with travelers. The mountains are high and rugged while the scenery is picturesquely rural, offering a pastoral view. The island, comprising 68 both large and small islets, features natural wonders, lovely beaches, ancient temples and historical sites. At the southern tip of the island is one of Korea's most attractive beaches situated below the rugged spires of mountain. There are several little villages placed side by side on the rather steep mountain slopes dropping into the sea.
You will tour the Gacheon village clinging to the slope. The village is more famous for its terraced rice paddies and mysterious phallic symbols. And German Village set in the beautiful surroundings and inhibited by Korean-Germans who had gone to Germany in the 1960s seeking work and later had returned.
Day 8 Suncheon - Gokseong - Gurye - Namwon - Jeonju (B) 160Km
Gokseong is a small town of early settlement of Catholics who fled from persecution of 1815. But, in 1827, the prison was set up here and persecution continued. Today, a cathedral along with a replica of the prison of the time tells visitors a hard time of the history. Namwon is a time honored charming city dotted with many historical spots and visitors attractions. Namwon is better known as the home of Chunhyang, the legendary faithful maiden whose story has been often compared to the Romeo and Juliet. There is a park in the center of the town in which stands the Gwanghallu pavilion where the lovers are said to have first met, and there is a bridge built on a pond that is supposed to ensure connubial bliss to any couple that steps on it.
While in Gurye, explore the 6th century Hwaeomsa.The temple is dedicated to the vairocana Buddha, the cosmic head of the Hwaeom trinity. First, One-Pillar Gate standing at the lower part greets you and leads you up to the second and the third gate - from the secular world into the spiritual world. On the second level, there is the Bojeru, the Save All Beings Hall, beside which stands bell and drum tower and two magnificent 5-story stone pagodas from Silla period. Gakhwangjeon has a double storied roof, and houses seven figures on its altar. Sakyamuni Buddha sits in the middle attended by Amitabha and Prabhytaratna, as well as Avalokitesvara, Samantabhadra, Manjusri, and Ksitigarbha.
A magnificent stone lantern and an impressive stone pagoda supported by four fierce looking lions adorn this hall. On the hill behind Gakhwangjeon stands the most uniquely designed three-story stone pagoda supported by four lions each of which represents the four primary human emotions: love, sorrow, anger, and joy. Here, you will enjoy the intricacies of this masterpiece as there are numerous other designs etched onto the pagoda.
Jeonju is a time-honored tradition as well as significant cultural and artistic heritage. You will explore Jeonju Hankok village, a Korean House complex retaining much of their perfection intact. Near the entrance of the complex stands a beautiful Jeondong Catholic church of Byzantine and Romanesque architectural design. Completed in 1914, it is one of the oldest and largest Western-style buildings in the region. It was designed by master church builder Victor Lousi Poisnel, the Norman priest whose work in Korea includes Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul. Just west of the church is the stately Pungnammun gate, where three Catholics paid for their religion with martyrdom on December 8, 1791, marking the first time in Korea. With time to visit, travel to a royal city of Buyeo, a melting pot of Baekje culture which is often regarded as the most artistically sophisticated of the Three Kingdoms.
Day 9 Jeonju - Buyeo - Gongju - Asan (B) 160km
Today, you will explore archaeological sites and ancient historic areas, which were collectively named as a UNESCO World Heritage sites. Gungnamji is the Korea's oldest artificial pond dating back to 634. Ringed by weeping willow trees, it creates a colorful spectacle with its stock of water lotuses in summer. Jeongrimsa temple site with its five-storied stone pagoda recalling the glorious past is one of the city's most distinctive and outstanding landmarks.
At Buyeo National Museum, you will feel the spirit and the essence of the brilliant Baekje culture as you appreciate the beauty of the archaeological relics. A beautiful gilt bronze incense burner is impossible to miss. Crafted over 1,500 years ago, it shows a graceful dignity and the elaborate skills of Baekje craftsmen.
Stroll up paths to Busosan to explore Baekje fortification. At the top of the hill sits Yeongillu pavilion where the king once came to watch the sun rise over his kingdom. A little further down the trail, you will see a pavilion called Baekhwajeong perched at the top of the rock beside which locates Nakhwaam, literally meaning Falling Flower Rock, on a bluff overlooking the Geum River at the bend called Baekma. As enemies swarmed into the capital, the court ladies flung themselves into the water from this bluff rather than suffer the shame of submitting to atrocities of the conquering enemy armies.
Gongju is a charming city that once served as the Baekje's capital for 63 years from 475 to 538. You will visit Gongju National Museum and get a glimpse of the fascinating archaeological articles from Baekje (BC18-AD660) era, and artifacts excavated from the royal tomb of King Muryeong (501-524), one of the last rulers to reign in the capital of Gongju. Near museum is UNESCO Heritage site of Songsanri Tombs, a group of royal tombs that just look like a cluster of grassy knolls. The tomb which belongs to King Muryeong (462-523) and his wife, the queen was found completely intact since it was sealed in the early 6th century. The actual tomb was permanently closed, but you will see an excellent, albeit miniature duplicate.
Later, explore Oeammaeul, one of the traditional clan villages exuding old and rustic charm. The village entrance is marked by stone bridge, pine forest and totem poles. This village with more than 400 years of history has about 70 traditional houses, and is highlighted by 6km-long stonewall paths ringing the village and the amazing artificial water system that goes through the entire village for gardens and agriculture. As you stroll along the pathway, you will see thatched cottages and tile roof houses representing typical village layout of central Korea and at the same time feel the rural ambience and peaceful atmosphere.
Among the attractions of Asan is Hyeonchungsa dedicated to the Korea's greatest naval hero, Admiral Yi Sunsin. This shrine keeps the spirit of Korea's greatest naval hero, Yi Sun-sin. The complex features the house where the admiral grew up, an archery range where he practiced, a museum containing a pictorial story of his life and an example of his famous turtle ship. The museum also contains his war diary and sword he carried. He had engaged in twenty-three naval battles against Japan and emerged victorious in all of them during the Hideyoshi invasion (1592-1598). He is also credited with the perfection of the first iron-clad warship in Korea. Visit also includes Onyang Folklore Museum exhibiting a vast array of beautiful and priceless antiques that speak to the life and traditions of the Korean people.
Day 10 Asan - Hongseong - Haemi - Dangjin - Anseong - Suwon - Seoul (B) 260Km
The pilgrim today is fairly packed. You will begin your day by paying a visit to Hongju Holy Ground where 212 martyrs were executed. They willingly embraced Catholicism as they were moved by its religious doctrine that stresses equality before God. Many followers kept their faith while in prison, despite torture and executions. There is a well-organized pilgrimage route, leading to the Hongju Martyrdom Holy Grounds, including the burial grounds and a place where many martyrs were executed.
Then, on to Haemi Holy Ground. Haemi has been the military base since the construction of fortress in 1491. Architecture aside, Haemi Fortress's historical importance is closely tied with the history of the Catholic Church in Korea. Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground is the site where over 1,000 Catholics were buried alive between 1866 and 1882. Near the fortress is Yeosutgol holy site, where Catholics were buried alive, drowned and otherwise made dead en masse. Here, the martyrs prayed and sang Jesus Maria as they confronted death. The rock to the right of the memorial is particularly macabre - some of the victims were executed by ramming their heads repeatedly into the stone. There is a memorial dedicated to those who martyred here. The pope Francis visited the Haemi Martyrdom Holy Ground and the Haemi Fortress to meet with Asian bishops and closing mass for Asian Youth Day on August 17, 2014 during his five days trip to Korea.
Next, you will visit Solmoe holy ground is the birthplace of St. Andrew Kim Dae-geon (1821-1846), who was the first Korean Catholic priest, and where the Catholic religion took root in Korea. Four generations of the Kim family, all of whom were martyred, were born and lived here. The Path of the Cross features a mosaic path showing the hands of Jesus and a bronze path on a large scale. A walk up the pine tree road leads to a bronze statue of the priest holding a bible in his left hand and delivering the message of the Gospel. Nearby is the Path of the Cross, symbolizing the path of the ordeal that Jesus had to walk carrying a cross to his crucifixion as detailed in the Christian Bible. The Solmoe Holy Ground memorial hall has on display various documents on the life of Priest Kim Dae-geon, detailing the persecution of members of the Korean Catholic Church, and letters and reports on martyrs written by the priest. The Path of the Cross features a mosaic path showing the hands of Jesus and a bronze path on a large scale. This is where many Catholic pilgrims pray or meditate while walking among pine trees. This Holy Ground is of major significance as one of the sites Pope Francis visited during his official visit to Korea. The papal trip is all the more momentous as it is his first visit to Asia and he will only be visiting Korea.
While in Anseong, stop at Mirinae, the place where the faithful gathered together and created a community at the time of harshest persecution in 1801 and 1839. At the entrance of Mirinae is a magnificent cathedral built in commemoration of the canonization of 103 saints. Behind the church building are a series of bronze statues that chronicle the tribulations of Jesus from his capture by the Roman soldiers to crucifixion and entombment. You will also see the grave site of martyr Kim Dae-geon, and a hall holding father Kim's remains and the Gethsemane hill.
Time works out, explore UNESCO World Heritage site of Hwaseong Fortress from the 18th century. Though it is relatively small in scale, it is well acknowledged as the best structure of its kind ever built in Korea. A 5.74km-long fortress enclosing both flatland and hilly terrain is parapeted with crenels and merlons and highlighted by four main gates and well over 50 structures including temporary palace where the king sought refuge during war and found rest during times of peace. A walk through the whole fortress could take several hours but it is well worth making a short walking tour to enjoy the splendor of the fortress, including the Korea's largest Janganmun Gate.
Day 11 Departure (B) 60km
After this wonderful trip exploring Korea and with time to reflect on your surprise in your experience, you will return to the airport in time for your flight. By boarding, you are already high above Incheon heading for home.