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An Encounter with Primeval Nature in Changnyeong, a Ramsar Wetland City
Date 09-11-2020 08:15
An Encounter with Primeval Nature in Changnyeong,
a Ramsar Wetland City


Changnyeong is a place that invites you to take a glimpse into primeval nature. Experience and appreciate nature in a land with a 140 million-year-old wetland, a golden silver grass field on the summit of the mountain, and the tombs of an ancient kingdom that can be traced back to 1,500 years ago.



Photo: Changnyeong-gun Office




Upo Wetland, a Globally Recognized, Naturally Formed Wetland


Changnyeong became the world’s first Ramsar Wetland City because it has Upo Wetland, the oldest naturally formed wetland in Korea. This freshwater wetland was created by a rise in sea level and flooding of the Nakdonggang River 140 million years ago. It has an area equal to the total size of 210 soccer fields and is home to more than 1,000 species, 50%–60% of which are native Korean aquatic plants. Recognized for its ecological significance, Upo Wetland was listed as a Ramsar site in 1998 based on the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (an international convention on the conservation and wise use of wetlands).
Upo Wetland is widely known for its breathtaking scenery that encompasses a misty morning view, the flight of migratory birds, and a waterside red leaf willow habitat. The best way to enjoy its beauty to the fullest is by taking a walk or riding a bicycle along the 8.7 km Upo Wetland Life Trail. The trail offers various routes that include the 0.5-hour and 3.5-hour ones. You are encouraged to drop by Upo Wetland Ecology Center first for a better understanding of the wetland’s ecological environment.





Photo 1, 2: Changnyeong-gun Office



Address : 220, Uponeup-gil, Yueo-myeon, Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do



Hwawangsan Mountain, the Mountain of Fire Covered with
Silver Grass Dancing in the Wind


Along with Upo Wetland, Hwawangsan Mountain is a perfect place to enjoy nature in Changnyeong. Hwawangsan Mountain (756.6 m), nicknamed the “King of Fire” and formed from volcanic eruptions, attracts travelers to an azalea habitat in spring and a silver grass field in autumn. Surrounding the summit of the mountain is Hwawangsanseong Fortress that is estimated to have been built between the fifth and sixth centuries. Inside this fortress, you can find the 18.5-hectare silver grass field that brightly shines in the golden sunlight in the depth of autumn.
The shortest way to reach the summit of the mountain is to walk along the second route that starts from Jahagok Ticket Booth and passes through the west gate. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to finish the one-way trip along the most frequently used trail route. As it is the shortest with stone stairs, its hiking difficulty is high. Although you might find it challenging, climbing the mountain quickly is worthy because you’ll get to enjoy walking around the silver grass field in a laid-back environment.





Photo 1, 2, 3: Changnyeong-gun Office



Address : San 332, Okcheon-ri, Changnyeong-eup, Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do



Ancient Tombs in Gyo-dong and Songhyeon-dong,
Changnyeong Touched by the Breath of Gaya People
1,500 Years Ago


At the western foot of Hwawangsan Moutain, you can find enormous ancient tombs covered with green grass. These are the tombs of the ruling class in Bihwa Gaya, one of the member states of the Gaya confederacy between the fifth and sixth centuries. The tombs were filled with many artifacts, such as gold and silver accessories, iron weapons including cuirass body armors, and horse-shaped earthenware, which give insight to the Gaya culture. In 2007, the traces of human sacrifice were found in the ancient tombs in Songhyeon-dong. Human sacrifice is the entombment or slaughter of servants or slaves intended to accompany the deceased in the afterlife. One of the bodies of the four sacrificed victims was recovered. It turned out that it belonged to a 153 cm-tall 16-year-old girl who was later named “Songhyeoni.” Inside the Changnyeong Museum next to the ancient tombs, you will be able to find a life-size doll of Songhyeoni and meet her eyes.
If you visit this place, you might also want to take a walk along the trail among the tombs. Just by doing that, you would feel as if you were touched by the breath of Gayan people who used to live in Changnyeong 1,500 years ago.





Photo 1: Changnyeong-gun Office



Address: 124, Gyo-ri, Changnyeong-eup, Changnyeong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do