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National Treasure

Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo Bridges of Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju

경주 불국사 연화교 및 칠보교 ( 慶州 佛國寺 蓮華橋 및 七寶橋 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo Bridges of Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju
Quantity 1 structure
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age Unified Silla
Address Bulguksa Temple, 385, Bulguk-ro, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do

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. The latter two bridges are connected to Anyangmun Gate, which leads to Geungnakjeon Hall, and it is said that these bridges were not destined for earthly people, but only for those who had realized the Buddhist paradise.
The bridges are made of eighteen steps of which ten on the lower part are called Yeonhwagyo Bridge and eight at the upper part are called Chilbogyo Bridge. They are smaller than Cheongungyo and Baegungyo Bridges, but share certain structural similarities, including the unique formation of the bridge-shaped staircase, the 45-degree slope, and the rainbow-shaped arches of the bridges. Despite these similarities, however, each has its own unique characteristic, such as the prominent carvings of lotus flower petals on each step of Yeonhwagyo Bridge, which unfortunately have faded due to the tramping of feet over the centuries. (As such, access to the bridge is now restricted.)

It is said that these bridges were built in 751 (the 10th year of the reign of King Gyeongdeok of Unified Silla), and have been continuously crossed by numerous visitors to this temple. The Queen of King Heongang, who became a Buddhist monk to pray for an easy and peaceful death for her husband, also used these bridges to reach the temple and offer prayers there. Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo Bridges exhibit a delicate beauty, while Cheongungyo and Baegungyo Bridges in the east display a grand beauty. Together these magnificent bridges lend additional harmony to Bulguksa Temple as well as a variation of formative beauty.