Tour Through Time: Stop 8: Mausoleum of Dan Gun

43 miles of running and we arrive in Kangdong at the site of the Mausoleum of Dan Gun on the slopes of Mount Taebak.

The story of Dan Gun starts with the God Hwanin who sent his son Hwang-Ung to build a new country. Hwang-Ung settled on the slopes of the Paektu Mountain and one day met a tiger and a bear who asked to be transformed into human form. Hwang-Ung gave them 20 cloves of garlic and some mugworts and instructed them to eat only that and wait in a cave for 100 days. The tiger grew hungry and left the cave after 20 days, whilst the bear stayed and transformed into a beautiful woman, Ung-Yo. Hwang-Ung was so taken by her beauty that he married her and she gave birth to a son, Dan Gun, who went on to found the first Korean dynasty, the Gojoseon Dynasty in 2333BC. While this story is considered a myth there are theories as to the basis of this myth; some believe Gojoseon was founded from the integration of a sky-worshipping Bronze Age tribe and a native bear-worshipping tribe and that this was where the myth originated.

The legend of Dan Gun has been used for years to bolster national pride and has given Koreans a strong sense of identity and culture. The 3rd October is known as Dan Gun Day and is celebrated as a national holiday in Korea. In 1909 the religion of Daejonggyo or Dangungyo was founded by Na Cheol based on Dan Gun. Later, North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung insisted on the historical accuracy of the figure of Dan Gun and instructed archaeologists to locate the remains and grave of Dan Gun. The Mausoleum of Dan Gun is reputed to have an original stone monument and buried remains of King Dan Gun and his wife, but North Korea has not permitted any independent testing of dating or authenticity. The ancient burial site had a pyramid built atop it in 1994 consisting of 1994 stone blocks and now occupies 1.8km².

To celebrate our arrival here we will be completing 43 bear bird dogs, before continuing 33 miles south west to a famous birthplace.

%d bloggers like this: