Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong – 제천 장락동 칠층모전석탑 (Jecheon, Chungcheongbuk-do)

The Currently Being Restored “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” in Jecheon, Chungcheongbuk-do.

Pagoda History

The “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” is located in eastern Jecheon, Chungcheongbuk-do. And at one point, it belonged to the former Jangnaksa Temple. Now all that remains of the former temple is this beautiful brick pagoda. Jangnaksa Temple was first built during the Three Kingdoms of Korea Period (18 B.C. – 660 A.D.). In total, Jangnaksa Temple was rebuilt a total of five times, and it was a prosperous temple during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). The temple remained as a fully functioning temple until the mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The temple would eventually fall into disrepair in the 17th century.

An excavation was conducted on the Jangnaksa-ji Temple Site from 2003 to 2008. This excavation revealed many artifacts including roof tiles, earthenware, pottery, clay molds, tombstones, and bronze spoons. In total, there were 34 buildings discovered on the temple site.

As for the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong,” it’s presumed to have first been built during the 10th century. The pagoda was partially damaged during the Korean War (1950-53), but it was later repaired in 1967-68. And until the recent excavation on the temple site, the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” stood in farmland.

The “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” is Korean Treasure #459.

Pagoda Design

The “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” is a rare historic brick pagoda that’s one of only about a dozen still in existence in Korea. The pagoda is made of grayish black clay-slate stone that were made into bricks. The very first layer of the stylobate is made from natural stone. And it’s on top of this stone that the seven-story main pagoda of the structure stands. The base has granite pillars on each of the four corners with bricks filling in the caps between these granite pillars. Traditionally, there’s a door fitted inside a niche on both the south and north sides of a brick pagoda. However, the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” only has a south side door. The north door, for whatever reason, has long since disappeared. Both the south and east sides of the first story of the structure are heavily damaged. The roof stones covering the centre body stones of the main body are made completely of bricks. The eaves of the roof stones are short and horizontal. And the four edges to these roof stones have holes in them that formerly allowed bells to hung from them. Of the upper portion of the brick pagoda, only the base of the finial still remains.

During restoration work conducted in 1967, a bronze piece engraved with a flower pattern was found on the upper part of the roof stone of the seventh story. It’s assumed to have once been a part of the pagoda’s former finial. Additionally, there are traces of the surface of the pagoda having been plastered in parts. Currently, the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” is being restored, once more.

How To Get There

You can simply take a taxi from the Jecheon Bus Terminal to get to the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong.” The taxi ride will take 8 minutes, or 2.6 km, and it’ll cost you 4,600 won (one way). Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can simply walk.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Like all historic brick pagodas in Korea, the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” is pretty special. Just for its rarity alone, it’s worth a visit. It’s both beautiful and graceful in its overall design. And next to it are the remains of the Jangnaksa-ji Temple Site, as well as a recently built Jangnaksa Temple. There’s a newly built park that surrounds the entire area, so it can make for a nice afternoon trip.

What the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” looked like before the most recent restoration work that’s currently being conducted on the pagoda. (Picture courtesy of CHA).
Unfortunately for me, they were restoring the beautiful brick pagoda.
But you can still see it through the scaffolding and the blue protective barrier meshing.
From a different angle.
The Jangnaksa-ji Temple Site next to the “Seven-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Jangnak-dong” and the city of Jecheon in the background.
An up-close of one of the former building sites at the Jangnaksa-ji Temple Site.