• ONBAO 2023-06-04
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  • 신계사
  • Singyesa
  • Travelling/Entertaiment > Tourist Sites
  • Asia Korea (North) Korea (North) 강원도 고성군
  • distance [서울]from 163.0km
Singye-sa is a Korean Buddhist temple located in Onjong-ri in Kosong County, Kangwon Province, North Korea. Once one of the largest of the hundreds of temples located in scenic Mount Kumgang, the complex was entirely destroyed by US bombings during the Korean War. It was reconstructed in 2004 as an inter-Korean cultural project. It is listed as National Treasure #95.

Singye temple was founded under the kingdom of Silla in 519, which favored Buddhism as its state religion. Its location, in sacred Mount Kumgang, was especially chosen for its natural beauty, and the temple grew, it eventually became known as one of the four major temples of Mount Kumgang. Its fame lasted into the Japanese occupation, when the temple was well known as a tourist destination (under its Japanese pronunciation, Shinkei-ji).
Unfortunately, the entire complex was destroyed by US fighter planes in 1951, at the start of the Korean War, as the US army believed the temple to be housing soldiers of the Korean People's Army; thus, despite its historical significance, the temple was firebombed. In 2004 reconstruction began on the temple, financed in part by the Jogye Order and the Korean Buddhist Association, and the temple complex was completed in 2006. Its reopening was attended by leading members of both groups.