The Sangwon Hermitage, situated in Sangwon Valley in Mt. Myohyang, Hyangam-ri, Hyangsan County, North Phyongan Province, is affiliated to the Pohyon Temple in the mountain. For the three waterfalls of Ryongyon, Sanju and Chonsin merging into one stream, the place opens matchless scenery in Mt. Myohyang. There are no historical records when the hermitage was built. But it is believed to have been built first in the period of Koryo because there are still traces of colour painting peculiar to the Koryo period, and on the ridge beam is written the message that the hermitage was rebuilt in 1580. The monument to the Sangwon Hermitage says that a major overhaul was carried out in 1794. Later, it was reconstructed as a whole in 1906.

The hermitage consists of the main hall, Chilsong Pavilion, Pulyu Pavilion and Sansin Pavilion. The main hall is composed of tapering pillars with double brackets and double-eaves gabled roof, and its gorgeous painting goes well with the surrounding scenery. The structural character is that an 11-metre-long headrail extends over the Korean-style veranda without pillar in the middle, thus unfolding an open view.

sangwon

Standing to the east of the main hall, the Chilsong Pavilion is a gable-roofed house, one bay both in façade and side. And the Pulyu Pavilion, situated southwest of the main hall, is a hexagonal building with a spring inside it. Clear water gushes out in all seasons. The building has triple brackets on the square pillars with a broach roof. Go eastward round the Chilsong Pavilion, and you can see the Ryonggak (the horn of dragon) Rock with two pine trees growing on it. They say the calligraphic writing of Sangwonam on the hanging board was written by Kim Jong Hui who was a noted calligrapher in the first half of the 19th century.

The Sangwon Hermitage is valuable cultural heritage showing the marvellous architectural art in the contemporary time. The hermitage and its vicinity are wonderfully arranged for tourists’ recreation and mountaineering.

Choe Chol