Befitting good Buddhist values, Korean temples are modest. Regardless of location, they are universally constructed in a boxy fashion and lacquered in precise tones of adobe and turquoise paint.
Hwaeomsa fits the mould, but its location on the hillsides of Jirisan, Korea's tallest mainland peak, lend drama that's normally lacking in the larger temples. In the Fall air, with Summer's humidity forgotten, it's a corner of genuine tranquility. To date, it's my favorite example of Korean Buddhist culture.
Originally constructed in 544, most of the buildings were rebuilt after succumbing to fire during the 1593 Japanese invasion.