Hansando Island & Admiral Lee's Shrine
Trip Start Aug 16, 2013
418Trip End Aug 25, 2013
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Tongyeong has played an important role historically during the failed Japanese Invasion of 1592. Admiral Lee was successfully able to defeat the invading Japanese fleet using his distinct Turtle Ships which have both become celebrated aspects of Korean history.
Admiral Lee has been laid to rest on Hansando Island a short ferry ride off the coast of Tongyeong. They also held strategic meetings here to plan the defence of the mainland and had banks of archers to fire on the advancing Japanese ships.
We passed many interesting islands along the way and were fortunate to have clear blue skies in contrast to yesterday evenings constant drizzle.
The memorial grounds are a short distance from the ferry and only cost 1000w ($1) admission.
There were many interesting types of foilage not seen in other parts of Korea benefiting from the coastal climate. We also passed a group of soldiers who we were to encounter in more depth later on
The entrance to the main compound had an outer doorway with two mannequin solders outside. As you enter there are several buildings around the grounds.
Overlooking the harbour is a viewing terrace. This has polished wood flooring and shoes must be removed to enter.
There were maps illustrating the historic sea victory beside Jeseungdang Shrine where the strategy meetings were held.
Today the interior is a fascinating art gallery depicting many battle scenes from the event. This type of European artwork is not common in Korea. The hall has polished wood flooring and you are only allowed to view the interior from the outside.
Leaving the hall there is then a gateway leading towards the burial shrine. Similar to other Royal Tombs there is first the outer red archway leading in a straight line to the tomb.
Again you can only view the inside of the shrine hall from the outside. Coincidently it was to be Admiral Lee's birthday the next day on Apr 29.
There were also costumes for hire for those wishing to dress up as Admiral Lee. As we returned to the ferry there was a large group of waiting soldiers.
Some of the soldiers were happy to take pictures with us while we waited but most were nervous talking with the foreigners. On the boat there was Korean style floor seating
I started talking to one of the soldiers who actually spoke very good English. He went to a Foreign Language High School and is originally from Changwon near Busan.
They are not doing mandatory military service but are actually full time career military and are training cadets. Females are allowed to join the regular military while they are not required to do mandatory service.
They can get stationed overseas for UN Peacekeeping Missions but need to have good english, so most are reluctant. Most of his friends kept their distance while he was talking to me as most Koreans do not always feel comfortable talking in English to foreigners.
It made the return ride more interesting hanging out with the soldiers and practicing some of my Korean.
See also Tongyeong History Museum and Shrines to Admiral Lee http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/londone7/1/1371412257/tpod.html
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