Cheongungyo and Baegungyo Bridges
Name: Cheongungyo and Baegungyo bridges of Bulguksa Temple
Period: Unified Silla Period (668-935)
Location: Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang
Status: National Treasures No. 23
Bulguksa Temple’s Cheongun and Baegungyo bridges connect the world for the common people under the bridge and one for Buddha over it. It is made of 33 steps, representing the 33 heavens in Buddhism.
The 33 steps imply not reaching the phase of Buddha yet, but the staircase can also be seen as a bridge of hope.
There are 17 steps of the Cheongungyo Bridge on the lower part and 16 steps of the Baegungyo Bridge on the upper part. It is sometimes compared to life, the former standing for green youth and the latter white-haired elders.
The structure is unique in that it’s a bridge-shaped staircase and the climbing slope is elaborately trimmed to 45 degree angle. The bottom part of the bridge is a rainbow-shaped arch, and it is said that there was once a pond under the bridge. Even now we can see a device for letting the water flow to the left of the staircase.