Sonjuk Bridge and the Monuments to Loyalty
The Sonjuk Bridge in Sonjuk-dong, Kaesong City is a stone bridge from the period of Koryo (918-1392). According to the historical data it began to exist from before the 13th century. Its original name was Sonji Bridge. It is said that after Jong Mong Ju (1337-1392), senior government official of Koryo, was assassinated on it, a bamboo grew up from the spot. Thereafter the original name of Sonji Bridge was replaced by the present name. It is 8.35 meters long and 3.36 meters wide. The granite-floored bridge was supported by pillars fixed on the foundations laid below the bottom of the stream.
In 1780, during the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910), a descendant of Jong Mong Ju built a parapet around the bridge to prevent traffic in order to preserve it eternally and laid a new bridge near it. The Sonjuk Bridge is one of the oldest stone bridges that remain in the country and is very useful in the study of the architecture and stone trimming technique at that time.
On June 23, 2013 it was registered in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage.
The Monuments to Loyalty stand in Sojuk-dong, Kaesong City. They were erected in the period of the feudal Joson dynasty to commemorate the loyalty of Jong Mong Ju who was killed on the Sonjuk Bridge. The pavilion housing the two monuments is an 11.41-m-long and 5.25-m-wide gabled structure with colorful designs painted on brackets and pillars. Each of the monuments consists of a stone base, a turtle-shaped pedestal, a main body and a crown. The main body alone is made of darkish marble, and all the other parts of grey granite.
The monuments are characteristic of big stone trimming with exquisite workmanship. The pedestal as a whole is a carved turtle weighing more than ten tons. The long neck, protruding eyes, and four big sharp fore-teeth bending inward—all these represent well the turtle’s characteristic posture. In particular, patterns engraved on the carapace and the lotus-shaped cushion stone on which the main body stands testify to the high art of sculpture.
The smooth surface of the main body bears intagliated characters.
The crown of the monument is in the shape of a gable roof, and dragons are engraved on the underside of the eaves, adding to the monumentality and decorative quality of the structure.
The monuments are heritage structures demonstrating the Korean people’s developed artistic talent and cultural level. On June 23, 2013 it was registered in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage.