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Ganghwa-gun, Incheon

holding up the centuries
Under the eave, a monkey supports the weight of a temple roof on Ganghwa Island, in the Han river estuary, northwest of Seoul, a stone's throw from North Korea...

On one of my teen-age visits to Korea, an uncle took us to spend the day here, an island dotted with prehistoric dolmens, Buddhist temples, and 19th-century fortresses that kept out the French and the Americans in the last days before the 'Hermit Kingdom' finally opened up to the West.

Jeondeung-sa temple, where I took this photo, has been a Buddhist sanctuary since the late 7th century. And here, I first tasted 'dol-sot-bi-bim-bap,' the quintessential Korean hot-pot rice dish, served sizzling in a stone bowl.

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Ganghwa-gun, Incheon, South Korea