Haeinsa Temple , located west of Gyeongu and Daegu, was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Like Bulguksa, it is also a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. It was first built in 802 AD, and has been renovated many times over the centuries. It burned down in 1817, and rebuilt the following year.
Apart from the beautiful architecture and magnificent setting, Haeinsa’s main claim to fame is that it is the domicile of the Tripitaka Koreana. From 1237 to 1248 AD, facing possible Mongol invasion and devastation, the complete Buddhist Scriptures were carved on to 81,350 wooden printing blocks, and have been housed here since 1398. This flawless carving of Chinese characters is the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, laws, and treatises in existence. The buildings which house the Tripitaka, dating back to the 15th century and having escaped 7 fires, were brilliantly designed to control the ravages of temperature and humidity changes. Damage by insects and rodents has also been circumvented. Modern methods of preservation have been attempted but have not come close to the original design. Access by the public is highly regulated, and only at pre-arranged times. There are many photographs of these treasures on line.