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Sunday, 23 March 2014

The oldest stone bridge in Seoul, the Geumcheongyo bridge

                             
                                        The oldest stone bridge in Seoul, the Geumcheongyo bridge

Geumcheongyo (Bridge) located in Changdeokgung Palace was built over the stream that sprang from the north and encircled "Oedang" which means the outer buildings of the palace. The bridge, 12.9m/42.3 ft long and 12.5m/41 ft wide, was constructed in 1411. The banks of the stream are made up of long rectangular stones.

                                         

Geumcheongyo is one of the oldest stone bridge to remain in Seoul today. The structure of bridges is as follows: two arches, and a mythical carved animal called "Haetae" to the south and a turtle statue called "Hyeonmu" to the north, in the middle of the arches.

"Haetae"

                             

Behind these statues, a monster, which is said to ward off evil spirits, is carved on the lateral side of the base where the two arches meet. On the both sides of the bridge have balustrades. The balustrades are composed of stone pillars with animal-shaped figures on the top, balusters, and flat stones with wind holes.

Especially the lotus petal design on the balusterades, the statues in the shape of animal heads at the foot of each baluster, and a mighty mythical animal statue, called "Haetae", on top of the last baluster is very charming. This bridge is arched with the rise in the middle.
                       

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