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Exploring the History of Ganghwado Island

Exploring the History of Ganghwado Island

World heritage dolmen

Ganghwado Island, often called the roofless museum, is the 5th largest island in Korea. It is easily accessed by crossing the Grandhwa Bridge or Choji Bridge from the metropolitan area. From the prehistoric period up to the modern times, Ganghwado Island contains various cultural and historical traces. Although it is loved by visitors today, its bitter past brought forth the agony experienced throughout its history.

Ganghwado Island provided a role in national defense during the Joseon Period when confronted with Japanese invaders. The history of resistance was played in the battlefields that are preserved up to the present. Today, the traces of the past battles are left in many places. Examples are the ‘Jin’ (traditional cache), ‘Bo’ (fortress), and ‘Dondae’ (fortification). Specifically, there are 5 Jins, 7 Bos, and 54 Dondaes on Ganghwado Island. Likewise, remains of marine defense systems are still left.

  • Gwangseongbo Fortress
    Gwangseongbo Fortress
  • Yeonmijeong Pavilion of Chojijin Fortress
    Yeonmijeong Pavilion of Chojijin Fortress
  • Gapgot Fortification
    Gapgot Fortification

Among the many remaining marine defense systems are eight great sceneries selected by Ganghwa County. Among these are the Gapgot Fortification, Gwangseongbo Fortress, and Chojijin Fortress. Specifically, the Gapgot Fortification was a critical fortress that protected Ganghwa Straits during the war against Mongolia after Goryeo’s capital relocation to Ganghwa. This fortress has eight cannon-firing gates.
On the other hand, the Gwangseongbo Fortress was the site of the most ferocious battlefield during the United States’ expedition to Korea in 1871. It was assigned as Historic Site No. 227. The cannons, bulwarks, and traces of the fortress that were used in the past are well preserved. This serves as a good educational place for children. Also, the view to the sea and curved fortification create a unique impression.
Moreover, the Chojijin Fortress is a glorious place where the French fleets were defeated during the French campaign against Korea in 1866. It is also considered a tragic place where Korea had to conclude the humiliating Japan-Korea treaty of 1876 at the 5th year of King Injo of the Joseon Dynasty. In Chojijin, the ‘Yeonmijeong Pavilion’ is located and is considered as one of the eight great sceneries of Ganghwa. It was opened to the public in 2008. It is possible to view Gaepung County of North Korea and Gimpo City from the east of the pavilion.

Jeondeungsa Temple

Jeondeungsa Temple is the oldest temple existing in Korea. About 50 Buddhist priests participated in the battles during the French campaign against Korea in 1866 so it is known to be a patriotic temple. Also, it was the strategic point for national defense amidst the national upheavals. The Temple is an attraction where visitors can appreciate the beautiful landscape and splendid architecture, thus, is popular among foreign tourists for a Temple Stay Program.
It is recommended to think about the patriotic history of Ganghwado Island and have a moment of healing from one’s busy life.

  • Daeungjeon Hall
    Daeungjeon Hall
  • Yaksajeon Hall
    Yaksajeon Hall

Website information


  • Cultural Tour of Ganghwa County 032)930-3114
  • Tourist Information Center of Gapgot Fortification 032)932-5464
  • Tourist Information Center of Chojijin Fortress 032)937-9365
  • Jeondeungsa Temple 032)937-0125
  • ※ Check the service one day in advance due to the different holidays operated in each tourist information center.

Transportation - Jeondeungsa Temple

  • Go straight to Exit no. 4 of Sincheon Station (Subway Line No. 2) and take bus no. M6117 at the median bus land. Get off at Gimpo Transfer Center and transfer to bus no. 60-2.
  • Take bus no. 700 at Incheon Terminal (at the direction of the New Core Department Store) and get off at Onsu-ri. Walk about 20 minutes.

Other information

Other Information
Kind Individual (KRW) Group (KRW)
Adult Teenager Child Adult Teenager Child
Free pass for the battlefields (Gapgot Fortification, Goryeo Palace Site, Gwangseongbo Fortress, Deokjijin Fortress, and Chojijin Fortress) 2,700 2,700 1,700 2,000 2,000 1,300
Admission at Jeondeungsa Temple 3,000 2,000 1,000 2,500 1,000 800
Parking fee at Jeondeungsa Temple 4,000KRW for full-sized car, 2,000KRW for compact car

Recommended tourist course depending on theme

Recommended theme course depending on mood and place

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