The Geumjeongsanseong(or Geungjeong or Kumjongsansong) Mountain Fortress is all about size and the spirit of patriotism. Located south of Beomeosa, on Mt. Geumjeongsan in Busan, it stands as a symbol of the glory of Korea. If it is hiking and nature tripping you like, coupled with some history and culture, Mt. Geumjeongsan is the place to visit.
As for the Kumjongsansong Fortress, this sits along the upper plateaus and the ridgeline of the mountain and overlooks the village below. It is perched on its location because it was designated to watch out for coastal attacks. Designated as National Cultural Asset No. 215, the Fortress is the largest walled fortress of its kind in Korea. Its role in the history of Korea is also the reason for its accreditation as a national historic site.
This walled fortress is made of natural stones, with the weaker parts strengthened by stone blocks hewn into square shapes. It had 17 kilometers of walls and four gates. The walls are about 1.5 to 3 meters high and covers around 8 or so square kilometers. Sadly, only 4 kilometers of the walls remain, but the gates and the fortress itself remain intact. Renovations to the fortress have restored three of the four gates to their current condition. There is also a plan by the Busan City Council to restore the walls.
This legendary mountain fort is believed to have been built during the Three Kingdoms Era, because of the warring Baekje, Goguryeo and Shilla dynasties. However, its exact time of construction is not confirmed as there are no records to help trace the actual date. Also, the Japanese had it destroyed during the Japanese Invasion of Korea (1592 to 1598). In 1701, reconstruction of the fortress was undergone as the residents were made aware of the need for more security because of the invasions of the Japanese and the Manchu people. The fortress was completed in 1703 while the walls were finished in 1707. However, the fortress fell into ruin because its size and location made it difficult to maintain. It was only in 1807 (during King Sunjo's reign) that the fortress was repaired and put into use by the Dongnae Magistrate, Oh Han-won.
Hike up the mountain trail and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas from the mountain peak. Climb on top of the watchtowers. When in the past these were used to watch out for enemies, now, you can use these to appreciate the magnificent beauty that you can see from this lofty height. Here you can see the wonderful mix of forest and gigantic slabs of granite – gray, white intermingling with green. You can also choose to ride the cable car that goes from Geumgang Park up to the peak of Mt. Geumjeongsan. Be sure to include Geumgang Park in your itinerary, as this offers small temples, the tomb of some of the casualties of the Imjin War (Japanese Occupation) and some museums.