Wongaksa Pagoda enclosed for protection from the elements, Tapgol Park, Seoul

Wongaksa Pagoda enclosed for protection from the elements

Wongaksa Pagoda is one of the finest examples of stone pagodas during the Joseon Dynasty. It has been registered the second national treasure of Korea. The pagoda is located at Tapgol Park in the center of Seoul. It is constructed of marble and measures in at 12 meters (39 feet) high.

A temple known as Heungboksa once stood at this location during the Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392). King Sejo expanded Heungboksa in 1465, during the 11th year of his reign, to make way for a newer temple known as Wongaksa.

Only a few relics of the temple remain including the ten story pagoda which was built two years later in 1467. It was constructed using marble, instead of granite, which was rare for the time.

There are three separate sections. The lower section is inscribed with patterns of lotus flowers and dragons. The middle section depicts a scene of three men, including Monk Sanzang, bringing a Buddhist canon back from India. The upper section is inscribed with tales of the former lives and the lifetime of Buddha. The body, designed to look like a wooden structure, features a dragon twisted around pillars and curved roofs.

During the late 19th century, the pagoda was located in a small private courtyard. By orders of King Gojong, a park was built at this location. This park today is known as Tapgol Park and its centerpiece is Wongaksa Pagoda, which is now located in a large, protective glass case.

Wongaksa Pagoda at Tapgol Park in Seoul

A view from the bottom to the top

Base of the pagoda of Wongaksa Pagoda at Tapgol Park in Seoul

Base of the pagoda