Simwon Temple is located on the side of Mt Jabi (500m above sea level) about 5 km to the south of the township of Yonthan County, North Hwanghae Province.
The area was regarded as a main traffic route leading to the north and south along the western coast of the Korean peninsula and a point of military strategy. So, there are many historical relics around it.
It is not clear when the temple was founded, but it is generally considered to be built in the early days of Koryo dynasty (10th century).
The temple was rebuilt in 1374 on a large scale in the closing years of Koryo by a famous scholar Ri Saek (1328-1396) and repaired several times later.
It consists of Pogwang Hall, living quarters on the right and left sides to its south, and Chongphung Pavilion.
Pogwang Hall is a gable-roofed main building, with three bays (11 m) on the façade and three bays (7.6 m) on a side and seven pho inside and outside of it. Enshrined there are the images of Sakyamuni, Bhaisajyaraja and Amitabha.
What is noticeable is that the wooden building is very elegant and showcases some general features of architectures in the Koryo period, including the forms of brackets and rafts, the overall structures and decoration methods, etc.
Almost all the temple relics, which still remain preserved, had been repaired and rebuilt in the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910). So, it is a very rare case that the architectural forms far back in that period have been preserved up to now.
Therefore, Pogwang Hall of Simwon Temple in Yonthan ranks among the oldest architectural heritage which retains the architectural forms in the closing years of Koryo, along with Ungjin Hall of Songbul Temple, Muryangsu Hall of Pusok Temple and Taeung Hall of Pongjong Temple.
Simwon Temple in Yonthan is a very valuable historical relic which preserves the excellent and oldest architectural forms of the Korean nation.
Kim Jong Chol, head of section for study of world heritage,
Kim Su Yong, head of section for study of colourful painting,
of the Korea National Heritage Preservation Agency