Jo May 4, 2023

Fort on Mt. Taesong is the largest and oldest of all the fortresses on mountains of Koguryo.

Located in Taesong-dong, Taesong District, Pyongyang City, it was built to defend Anhak Palace, the royal palace of Koguryo from the 3rd to 5th century.

The fort is surrounded by wide and narrow rivers on three sides ― east, west and south ― and the north is linked to a mountain range, so it is very advantageous in terms of military affairs, economy and transportation.

It is 7 076 metres round and the total length of the walls runs to 9 284 metres. It could hold a huge number of people, combat equipment and supplies as it had two vast deep valleys between the six mountain peaks linked to one another. It had food storages, armouries, quarters, general’s terraces, gates, etc.

Pyramid-shaped stones were laid in single-sided piles on the peaks and in double-sided piles across the valleys. Double and treble walls were built on important spots. On the top of the walls were parapets, low zigzag walls, and on important points were bastions to strengthen the defense of the fort.

Abundant in water resource, the fort had as many as 170 ponds including a carp pond and Jangsu Pond. It had two gates ― Somunbong Gate and South Gate, which was 5 kan × 2 kan ( 1 kan = 5.965 feet) in size and 19.5 metres in height.

In the fort, a lot of relics and remains like Koguryo roofing tiles, gilt-bronze images of Buddha, stone boxes for keeping Buddhist scriptures, etc. were discovered, and many legends including the story of a Rok tribe lady associated with the fort have been handed down.

Many relics including some parts of the wall, Jangsu Pavilion, South Gate and Jangsu Pond are now restored to the original state to play an important part in the study of Koguryo’s fortress system.

Fort on Mt. Taesong with strong defences, which served as a reliable one in the fights against foreign invaders, was an impregnable fortress that had hardly been found in the world history of fortress construction.

Ko Ju Il, researcher at the Academy of Social Sciences