Daeungjeon and Geungnakjeon, the prayer halls of Bulguksa Temple, can be reached by two ways – via Cheongungyo and Baegungyo Bridges to the east, or via Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo Bridges to the west.
Cheongungyo and Baegungyo Bridges are connected to Jahamun Gate, which leads to Daeungjeon Hall, and are considered to be symbolic structures that connect the world of common people under the bridge with the world of Buddha over it.
The bridges consist of thirty-four steps of which the sixteen steps forming the upper part are called Cheongungyo Bridge and the eighteen steps forming the lower part are called Baegungyo Bridge.
These bridges are sometimes compared to life itself, the former standing for ‘green youth’ and the latter for ‘white-haired elders’.
The structure is unique in bridge-shaped staircase, and the climbing slope is elaborately trimmed in 45 degrees.
Since the under part of the bridges is rainbow-shaped arch, it make smooth and vital the view that is hardened by the rectilinear lines.
It is said that there used to be a pond under the reinforced stonewall where the bridges are.
Even now, a device making water fall down remains to the left of the staircase.
It is said that when water fell from here, a rainbow was created by the spray from the falling water.
Presumed to have been built in 751 (the 10th year of the reign of King Gyeongdeok of Unified Silla), these structures are very precious because they are the only bridges of the Silla Period to have survived fully intact.
Furthermore, the rainbow-shaped arch of the under part is of great significance as it provides an indication of the earliest use of arches in stone bridges and fortress gates.