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Beautiful Koguryo Tomb & Border Adventures

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Stunning bus rides. We've all had them.

For those of you who haven't, book a flight to Dandong and after checking out the border grab a ticket to Ji'an city in Jilin Province and nearly seven hours later you will have joined all of us who have sat hour after hour with our faces glued to the window unable to tear ourselves away just in case we miss something that somehow could be even more mind blowing that what is already passing by.

After looking at the map I expected to travel via freeway.

Thankfully though the entire journey was on a small river side road lined with huge rolling green mountains either side that wound its way through lush valleys and along grassy plains, all the way snaking along the North Korean border collecting and dropping off ancient slow moving rural village folk along the way.

Ji'an City, located in the southeast of Jilin Province, lies opposite to the DPRK (North Korea) with the Yalu River running in between; it borders Liaoning Province to the southwest and is one of China's three major ports that are opened to Korea.

After already spending four days here I can assure you that the area is extremely beautiful and the city is so small that it could easily be called a town. This is definitely not the type of place that most foreigners add to their itineraries when visiting China as it is so far off the main travel routes and let's be honest, who's ever heard of the Koguryo People or cares enough about them to bother. However, it really is an amazing place and 99.99% of foreigners here are Koreans as they believe that this area is the birthplace of their culture. Here ancient tombs and pyramids of some of the rulers of the Koguryo Empire can be found and the area has a bit of a 'Valley of the Kings' feel about it.

It is much different than I expected yet so much more. The tombs look like they could be from Mayan or Aztec history. Oh and before continuing on about meeting a beautiful girl let's talk about steps.

Not stairs just those dainty and harmless weenie single steps that you find along a footpath. The ones that if you step on a doggie bomb in the park you try to scrap it off on these prior to looking for a puddle or pond.

Did I say harmless.

The night before leaving Dandong there I was doing the tourist thing taking photos along the river and obviously I forgot to remind myself that I can't do two things at once ie: take a photo and move, and as I was humming and haring about my shot I took a step back and to the right and somehow managed to almost fall backwards into a steep canyon that was easily about two centimeters deep yet somehow survived. The entire incident was so earth shattering that no one around me even noticed, yet I came out of it with an entire gammy right leg, painful lower back. Now found baby stepping my way through life.

The first few days after arriving to help rest my leg I slept or read until lunch time and then walked to a few of the closest tombs and around parts of the city. Nights have been spent having Beer & BBQ around from my hotel where several nights ago I met a wonderful lady named Suiyun and her son Suihong. As Suihong is attending Middle School summer classes, that has left her free most of the day to walk, take North Korean border boat rides and the evenings have been spent eating BBQ and drinking too much beer far too late at several of the Korean style restaurants and roadside eateries.

It's a hard job to live my life my friends. Someone has to do it and thankfully it might as well be me!

<u>The Koguryo Kingdom and History</u>

The Koguryo Kingdom (37 BC - AD 668.) is believed to be the longest regime founded by an ethnic minority people in northeast China and it played a big role in the development of Northeast Asia. Though the kingdom collapsed over one thousand three hundred years ago, relics of the kingdom remain in good condition. They include its capital city, fortifications, royal tombs and steles in today's Ji'an City and neighboring Huanren County.

Koguryo had two cities, Guonei and Wandu both of which are located on plains.

Its capital was originally built in Huanren in 37 BC, and then called Wunu Mountain City. In AD 3, it was moved to Ji'an and named Guonei by the second Koguryo ruler. Taking advantage of the local natural environment, the imperial cities developed their defense works with unique ethnic features, setting a good example in China's architectural history.

Guonei City's perimeter measures two thousand seven hundred and forty meters and many relics have been unearthed from it which includes jade earrings, twenty gold plated arrowheads and large amounts of tiles with different kinds of decorative patterns. The most famous relic in Ji'an is the Haotaiwang Stele which was erected over one thousand five hundred years ago and experts believe it shows the impact of Chinese culture on the Koguryo who did not have their own written language by the time.

Wandu City, on the mountain top some two and a half kilometers north of Guonei City, has seven city gates, forming the main defensive system in the region. It was built in AD198, destroyed in AD342 and the city had served as a garrison city and twice as the provisional capital city.

Murals have been found in over one hundred tombs of the Koguryo Kingdom, of which over thirty are scattered in Jilin Province and nearly seventy in North Korea. The murals were drawn on stone walls covered with lime and are rich in historical content, including lives of the noble families, such as feasting, dancing and drama etc. Some of the earlier murals portray palaces, water wells, soldiers, maids, cattle and dogs, flowers and grass and the sun and the moon and after the introduction of Buddhism into China, the designs of lotus began to appear in tomb murals.

<u>Tomb & Stele of King Haotaiwang</u>

Carved out of an entire breccias tuff over one thousand five hundred years ago, the stele in front of the tomb of Hao Tai (AD374 to 412) the nineteenth king of the Koguryo State, is found four kilometers east of Ji'an City. The stele is inscribed with one thousand seven hundred and seventy five Chinese characters in official script with the Kings accomplishments. It stands nearly six and a half meters high, nearly two meters wide and bares inscriptions on all sides both horizontally and vertically.

<u>Generals Tomb</u>

Set in beautiful mountains four kilometers from Ji'an city is one of the largest pyramid like structures in the region. The twelve meter tall General's Tomb was built during the fourth century for an unknown Koguryo ruler and the smaller tomb found nearby is the resting place of his wife.

<u>Wunu 'Five Ladies' Mountain Park</u>

Five Ladies Mountain is found in the enchanting Laoling Mountains, twenty one kilometers from Ji'an city. There are twenty six mountain peaks, seventeen are over one thousand meters above sea level, with the highest being over one thousand three hundred and the lowest six hundred and fifty.

The park is divided into ten scenic areas and eight are open to tourists.

The eight hundred and twenty meter Wunu Mountain has immense significance as the birthplace of the ancient Koguryo Civilisation. The peak (outside the town of Huanren) was the first capital of the Koguryo, a Korean dynasty that ruled parts of the region from 37BC to AD668 and visitors can tour the partially excavated 'Wunu Mountain City'. After a steep forty five minute climb to the mountain top, you can walk through the ruins of the town. There's not too much to see, but the views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are worth the hike up alone.

Beers N Noodles toya.....shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the Meat Puppets The album was 'Too High to Die' ____________________________________________________________

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures


Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Koguryo Tomb &#38;amp; Border Adventures

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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