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K is for Korean Friendship Bell: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post


A pagoda houses a huge bell in Angel's Gate Park in San Pedro, California
I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the eleventh post in the series.

The Korean Friendship Bell sits atop a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Whether you are looking out to the ocean from the pagoda, or at the pagoda with your back to the ocean, the view is spectacular!

The ball and pagoda were gifts from the Republic of Korea to the United States of American on the bicentennial of the USA.

A sign at the Korean Friendship Bell explains the history of the bell
There are some totems beside the path leading up to the pagoda and bell. I didn't know their significance, but a Korean co-worker of my husband's was able to help. He translated the writing and explained the cultural tradition as follows:

"The man translates to: General of the World. The woman translates to: General of the Underground. The signs explicitly describe them as a man and a woman. The man's leadership extends from the surface of the earth to the sky, but below the heavens. The woman's leadership extends from the surface of the earth down.

"Metaphorically, the man's realm can refer to this life, while the woman's realm can refer to the afterlife. The priests in Korea were traditionally women.

"Totems are traditionally placed at the entrance of a village to be the protectors of the village. This tradition was started by the kind at about 1900 AD. There was an area that he wanted protected, so by placing the generals to control all things above and below, the whole area was protected. After that, villages began wanting their own protection, so they started putting them in at the village entrance."

Totem generals protect the area 
The pagoda is quite ornate. The bell is apparently rung several times a year, but I wasn't visiting on one of those special days.

The ceiling and eaves of the pagoda are colorfully painted in a floral motif

The clapper of the bell is suspended by chains from the ceiling
The Korean Friendship Bell is worth a visit, not only to see the bell, pagoda, and totems, but also for the lovely ocean view. There is a playground in the park as well, so Angel's Park would be a fun stop for the entire family. Admission and parking are free. 

A panoramic view from the Korean Friendship Bell with the Pacific Ocean in the background


  1. What a lovely gesture this was on the part of the Koreans. It does look like something I'd want to see, thanks for the explanation of the totems.

    1. I'm thankful John was able to have his co-worker explain the significance of the totems.


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