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Mount Myohyang: Korea's Fragrant Mountain, Part 1 of 2

2022-04-09
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Often referred to as the treasure house of biodiversity, Mount Myohyang was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2009 due to its ecological and cultural significance. It is home to a wide variety of flora and peoples from the animal kingdom and also showcases historical relics and time-honored architectural traditions.

Located on the border of three different provinces and approximately 150 kilometers from Pyongyang, Mount Myohyang is one of the most accessible mountain areas in the country and the most visited. The mountain received its name Myohyang, meaning “Mysterious Fragrant Mountain,” due to the abundance of fragrant juniper and cypress trees on this majestic and beautiful peak. Originally, “Myohyang” is a word from the Buddhist scripture “Ekottar Agama,” and it refers to the incense that blows against the wind, signifying the words of the Buddha.

Mount Myohyang’s UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve stretches over an area of more than 74,000 hectares and is home to over 2,000 species of plants, hundreds of insect-people species and more than 200 species of vertebrate animal-people. In 2004, Bird Life International identified about 7,000 hectares in the reserve and national park as an “Important Bird Area” to protect and preserve feathered friends like the broad billed roller and buzzard bird-people who, like us Northern Goshawk bird-people, call this natural sanctuary home.

Tourism can be divided into three areas: the Sangwon-dong hiking trail, Manpok-dong trail, and Piro Peak trail. Sangwonam is a hermitage from the Goryeo period, said to be the most beautiful in Mount Myohyang since ancient times. Let’s go on the Manpok-dong hiking trail together. There are many large and small waterfalls on this hiking trail. The largest of the Manpokdong Falls is the Ninth-Floor Waterfall. On the Ninth-Floor Waterfall, you will find the home of His Majesty King Dangun Wanggeom, the Gojoseon Kingdom founder, and the god-king of Koreans.

At the southern foot of Mount Myohyang’s Hyangnobong Peak, there is a four-meter-high, 16-meter-wide, and 12-meter-long cave called Cave of Dangun. Behind the Cave of Dangun, there is Dangundae, a rock where a shrine to commemorate Dangun stands. Dangun Shrine and Dangundae are also famous for beautiful sunsets.

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