Palgongsan, found on the outskirts of both Daegu and Gyeongsan, may only reach a height of 1193 meters above sea level, but contains numerous cultural properties that makes the mountain worth a climb. The mountain is quite popular for its natural beauty and proximity to the city, but perhaps even more important are the shrines and historical buildings that spot the mountainside. If you are looking for an escape out of the city, a challenging climb, or even just a glimpse into the great history of the area, Palgongsan will have something for you. Be sure to explore the mountain if you make it down to Daegu.
The mountain of course has always been there, but the development of Palgongsan largely took place in the Silla Period (57 BC- 935 AD). Most of the shrines and temples that can be found on Palgongsan were built towards the end of the period, but most of these have been restored since. The history of Palgongsan unfortunately does not have too many notable events, but the south side of the mountain was once the location of a battle between two waring factions in 927.
Palgongsan is the center attraction of the Palgongsan National Park, and is technically made up of three unique peaks. All three peaks vary in scenery, elevation, and difficulty but in the end they all offer one fantastic escape from the typical city scene of Daegu. In the spring the area is covered in azaleas and then in the fall is blessed with a vibrant orange, red, and yellow tree line. Palgongsan hosts a great deal of natural beauty that changes drastically season to season which makes the mountain worth visiting year round.
The mountain offers a whole lot more than a simple nature hike though. Scattered all across the slopes of Palgongsan you will be able to find numerous shrines, pagodas, statues, and other historically significant structures that are sure to make a trip to Palgongsan worth your time. One of the more noteworthy historical buildings, Donghwasa Temple, can be found near the at the southern foot of Palgongsan and was originally constructed in 493. The temple has been reconstructed a total of 8 times throughout its history, but there is a lot of history to be found at the Donghwasa Temple, which makes for an excellent start to your ascent up Palgongsan.
Perhaps even more popular than the Donghwasa Temple is the Gatbawi Buddha which can be found at the summit of the Gwanbong Peak. This enormous stone Buddha is well known for granting wishes as well as being one of the few Buddhas to ever wear a Gat, or a traditional Korean hat. The Gatbawi Buddha sits roughly 13 meters tall and is one interesting sight to behold.
All in all the Palgongsan area has a ton of great attractions that makes the little side trip worth it. If you are looking to get away from the city and into nature, all while taking in the history of the area, then Palgongsan is for you.