Mt Kuwol is one of the six celebrated mountains in Korea, the others being Mts Paektu, Myohyang, Kumgang, Chilbo and Jiri.
Located in the northwest of South Hwanghae Province, the mountain is made up of 99 high and low peaks, including Sahwang Peak (954 m), O Peak (859 m), Jugo Peak (823 m), Asa Peak (688 m) and Sam Peak (615 m). Formed with granite and granitite, it unfolds sceneries of complex and diversified shapes which are the results of long-standing weathering, erosion and water-caused cutting.
The name of Kuwol comes from the fact that its scenery is most beautiful in September (Korean phonetic sound of Kuwol) when it turns golden.
In the deep ravines of the mountain including Sansong, Obong, Ungye, Hwajang and Wonmyong there are waterfalls like Ryongyon and Samhyongje, where rainbows hang in wet fogs, and pools. From the ravines rise the Hani, Hanil, Namdae, Kuwol, Sanchon and other streams. In the Samsu Ravine up the Hani Stream that flows down the northern slope of the mountain there are pools called Puyon, Mayon and Yoyon. On the side of the mountain is Sokdam, a pond with the tale that it did not go dry even during a 7-year-long severe drought.
And on its western slope are Madang, Kama and other pools. In the middle of the slope is a deep pond called Kyoyoyon.
As it is located in the northern part of central Korea, it has a relatively warm climate and a considerable precipitation. For such climatic conditions, the mountain area is a sanctuary of hundreds of species of plants including pine, pine-nut, oak, maple, walnut, camellia, persimmon and jujube trees and medicinal herbs like wild insam, astragaluses, forest asiabell and Schizandra chinensis.
There are also many kinds of animals like roe deer, boar and hare, and birds such as pheasant, oriole, migratory grosbeak and ringdove.
The fauna and flora go well with the beauties of peaks and ravines, adding to the scenery of the mountain.
The mountain resort is largely divided into districts of Tangundae, Asabong, Wolmyong, Sasondae, Sansong, Sansung, Susampha and Chogyo. From the Obong Ravine and Kusong Ravine situated in the Tangundae district one can see the Tangundae Rock, and from the Asa Peak in the Asabong district one can see in the west a series of peaks stretching to the southwest of the mountain and the West Sea of Korea and in the east a wide expanse of lowland and Mt Jongbang in the distance.
In the Sasondae district are found Ryongyon Falls which is over 15 metres in height, Pyongphung Rock, Sasondae which is a big cliff that is said to have been a haunt of four Heavenly creatures for their enjoyment, and pools of clean water formed by Jonggok Stream. In the district are also to be seen historical sites like those of Jonggok Temple, Koson Temple, Jangnim Temple, and the sites of a kiln used to make Koryo celadon and an iron works.
Mt Kuwol has a lot of historical remains and relics. Examples are Kuwolsan Fort, Yangsan Fort, Tangun Shrine, Woljong Temple, Phaeyop Temple, a five-storeyed pagoda at Wonjong Temple, a five-storeyed pagoda in Hongmun-ri, a pagoda at Jangbul Temple, Monument to Phaeyop Temple, Monument to Woljong Temple, Monument to Jonggok Temple, and other mountain fortresses, pagodas, monuments and 88 stupas.
The natural celebrity is associated with a lot of legendary tales of Tangun, the founding father of Ancient Joson, natural beauties, the patriotic struggle of the Korean people against foreign invaders, and beautiful manners and customs of the Koreans. A typical one of them, associated with the Kobuk Rock in Hanwol-ri, Anak County at the foot of Mt Kuwol, goes: Once upon a time the king of an undersea kingdom ordered a 3 000-year-old tortoise to go up to the human world to travel around the human world with Tangun on its back. At the moment Tangun was not on the throne yet. Wandering around the world, the tortoise arrived at Mt Kuwol in Korea which was a land of morning calm under the bright sun. There in the mountain Tangun trained himself to be king while the tortoise, attracted by the scenery of the mountain, remained there enjoying the natural beauty before turning into a rock.
There also goes a legend in which a serpent, moved by a little girl's devoted care for her sick mother, connected the stream of water rising from a dragon's well on the top of Mt Taerim to the girl's home. Another one is about a tiger which helped a woman who was devoted to her parents.
The mountain area has been developed into a wonderful public resort.