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Sŏnjuk Bridge is a Koryo-dynasty stone bridge located in Kaesong, North Korea. Built in 1290, it is famous as the place where famed Confucian scholar and statesman Jeong Mong-ju was assassinated, allegedly on the orders of the Yi Bang-won, son of the first king of the Joseon Dynasty, Yi Seong-gye. The bridge was closed to all traffic in 1780 and has since been a national monument. It is 8.35m long and 3.36m wide. It was originally named the Sonji Bridge, but was renamed Sonjuk Bridge after the assassination of Mong-ju because bamboo grew where he was killed (juk being the Korean word for bamboo).
Assassination of Jong Mongju
A famously loyal advisor to the king of Goryeo, Jeong was a staunch political opponent of Yi Seonggye. On his way home after a party held for him by the future king, he was ambushed by five men on the bridge and brutally murdered with an iron hammer. Later canonized as a Korean sage, and revered even by Joseon monarchs, Jong's death came to symbolize unwavering loyalty. A brown spot on one of the stones is said to be Jong's bloodstain, and to become red when it rains. A famous poem of his records his final thoughts:
Even if I may die, die a hundred times,
Even if my skeleton may become dust and dirt,
And whether my spirit may be there or not,
My single-hearted loyalty to my lord will not change.
Built during the Joseon dynasty, this small wooden structure houses two enormous stone stele mounted on the backs of lion-turtles, one erected in 1740 by King Yeongjo and the other by King Gojong in 1872. Both commemorate Jeong Mongju's assassination, and praise his loyalty to the Goryeo dynasty.
- KCNA (2003–2014). World Cultural Heritage-Historical Relics in Kaesong. Korea Computer Center in DPRKorea & Foreign Languages Publishing House. Event occurs at 07:51. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
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