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Blacklink provides transportation to and from Incheon Airport (ICN) and Gimpo Airport (GMP) to your location. Blacklink is based in Seoul, South Korea. This blog is to share a lot of fun places and things that you can experience in Korea!

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Historic sites in Gyeongju, South Korea

  • 2017.10.23
  • 751


Historic sites in Gyeongju, South Korea


Cities are great fun, but when you are travelling abroad, you just need to see the historic sites of the country sometimes. 


Seoul city gets most of the attention when foreign tourists visit Korea, but really, Korea has a lot more traditional and historic areas than what you see in big cities only. Here we have Gyeongju, the city where you will find yourself surrounded by the history of this country. 



1. Donggung palace and Wolji pond (a.k.a. Anapji pond)


Donggung palace and Wolji pond was part of the palace complex of ancient Silla (57 BCE - 935 CE). It was constructed by order of King Munmu in 674 CE. The pond is situated at the northeast edge of the Banwolseong palace site, in central Gyeongju. It is an oval shape; 200m from east to west and 180m from north to south. It contains three small islands. (source from Wikipedia)


There had been a long-term excavation project on this site from 1975 to 1986 where almost 33,000 pieces of historic relics were excavated including uniquely designed roof tiles, architectural materials, pottery, gilt bronze figures of Buddha, jewelry and a lot more, offering an insight to Buddhist art and the Silla Kingdom. 


korea travel gyeongju donggung palace and wolji pond serenity traditional historic

korea travel gyeongju donggung palace and wolji pond serenity traditional historic


Looks beautiful enough in the day light? Of course it does, especially in spring when cherry blossoms are all over the place. 


Give it a visit at a night time too, the lighting takes it up a notch and the place becomes even more gorgeous. You will be mesmerized by the incredible serenity this place offers. 


korea travel gyeongju donggung palace and wolji pond serenity traditional historic night views

korea travel gyeongju donggung palace and wolji pond serenity traditional historic night views


Address : 102 Wonhwa-ro, Wolseong-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do


Opening Hours : 09:00 ~ 22:00 all year around. 


Admission Fees : Adults 2,000 Adolescents 1,200 Children 600 

*Groups (more than 30 persons) : Adults 1,600 Adolescents 1,000 Children 500 


Inquiries : +82-52-772-4041, +82-54-750-8655




2. Daereungwon Tomb Complex/ Tumuli Park 


korea travel gyeongju Daereungwon Tomb Complex Cheonmachong Hwangdaemachong serenity traditional historic

The entrance gate of Daereungwong Tomb Complex


Daereungwon Tomb Complex/ Tumuli Park hosts a series of large royal tombs, 23 tombs in total, as well as a famous painting and accessories of Silla dynasty excavated back in 1973. The 2 most famous tombs out of all are called Cheonmachong and Hwangnamdaechong. 


korea travel gyeongju Daereungwon Tomb Complex Cheonmachong Hwangdaemachong serenity traditional historic

korea travel gyeongju Daereungwon Tomb Complex Cheonmachong Hwangdaemachong serenity traditional historic


Cheonmachong is the most well-known tomb. The tomb is made in the typical Silla style, with 47 meters in diameter, 157 meters in circumference and 12.7 meters in height. Cheongmachong was for an unknown king of the Silla Kingdom and is famous for a number of historical remains discovered there, including a painting that is the only painting of Silla era ever discovered. 


Hwangnamdaechong is the largest tomb, known for its uniqueness that a queen's part of the tomb had a lot more luxurious accessories buried inside. It gives you a historical insight that women were able to hold high social status equal to men's back in Silla era. 


korea travel gyeongju Daereungwon Tomb Complex Cheonmachong Hwangdaemachong serenity traditional historic hanbok


Pathways in Daereungwon Tomb Complex are all very beautiful and peaceful, giving you the perfect opportunity to be close to historic sites and also calm yourself as you stroll down. You will also be able to come across people in Hanbok, Korean traditional costume. 


There are a few places in Gyeongju where you can rent Hanbok so if you really want to feel Gyeongju, give it a go and take heaps of pictures!



Address : 9, Gyerim-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do


Opening Hours : 09:00 ~ 22:00 all year around. 


Admission Fees : Adults 2,000 Adolescents 1,200 Children 600 

*Groups (more than 30 persons) : Adults 1,600 Adolescents 1,000 Children 500 


Inquiries : +82-54-779-8796, +82-54-743-1925


Related Websites : To find out more about Daereungwon on the Gyeongju-si Official Website. (Available in English, Japanese, Chinese)




3. Bulguksa temple


You visit Gyeongju, you visit Bulguksa. The temple is definitely the most popular tourist attraction in Gyeonju. The temple seems to best represent the city of Gyeongju as well as the Silla era which dates back for 1500 years. The temple is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in South Korea, and considered to be a masterpiece of Buddhist art which flourished during Silla era (Silla era is called the golden age of Buddhism in Korea). Bulguksa was also designated as a World Cultural Asset by UNESCO in 1995. 


Bulguksa was built in 528 during the Silla Kingdom, and since it's been there for so many years, it has gone through multiple of sufferings and renovations. It was even burnt down during the Imjin War when the Japanese made an invasion which did a serious damage to the temple. Having so much history makes the temple even more alluring and surreal. 


korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historickorea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic


Bulguksa temple hosts a number of national and historic treasures including famous stone pagodas such as Dabotap and Seokgatap, bridges, Buddha statues and a lot more. It might take a few good hours to look around the whole temple but would be totally worth it. 


The temple is a recommended destination all year around for its uniqueness that each season brings to the place. It's also a nice family trip destination, good for couples, foreign tourists, students as well. 


korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic

A statue of Buddha in Daewoongjeon, Bulguksa.

 

korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art Seokgatap Dabotap stone pagoda serenity traditional historic


These two stone pagodas you see from the picture above, are called Seokgatap and Dabotap. 


Seokgatap was designated as the 21st National Treasure in 1962 and has a full name of Sakyamuni Yeoraesangjuseolbeop Tap. It's 8.2 meters in height and located directly across from Dabotap. 


Dabotap, also known as pagoda of many treasures, is 10.4 meters tall and was built in an unique ornate style which makes this 3-storied pagoda different from others since the style is not usually seen in other Buddhist countries/ arts. Fun fact, Dabotap is currently depicted on the obverse of the 10 won coin. 


Both pagodas were built by a talented stonemason named Asadal who had been originally from Baekje but brought to Silla to build these two pagodas. Seokgatap and Dabotap are believed to have been built in 751. They boast the delicate architectural beauty of the era. 


korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art pond serenity traditional historic


Bulguksa is a Buddhist temple, obviously, and therefore holds a huge celebration festival on Buddha's birthday so if you visit the temple around the season you will be able to see the temple in an unusual (probably festive and colorful) ambience in contrast to its usual calm and serene atmosphere.


korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic festive

korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic festive

korea travel gyeongju bulguksa temple UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic festive


Address : 15-1 Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do


Opening Hours : 07:00 ~ 18:00 all year around (open til 17:30 in the winter season only)


Admission Fees : Adults 5,000 Adolescents (13~18 year-old) 3,500 Children (7~12 year-old) 2,500


Public Transportation Info : Take bus 10, 12, 12 and 700 and hop off at Bulguksa/ Bulguksa-ap stop. 


Inquiries : +82-54-746-9913


Official website : Go on to the official website for more info about Bulguksa temple.




4. Seokguram Grotto


korea travel gyeongju seokguram grotto UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic

A pavillion near the entrance of the Seokguram grotto.

 

As a part of the Bulguksa temple complex, Seokguram grotto bears the essence of the Silla Kingdom and its Buddhist spirit/ art. The grotto is renowned for its uniqueness in design, delicacy in architecture and also being full of historic, religious and artistic values, making it a must-see tourist attraction in Gyeongju.  


Seokguram grotto, located near the summit of Mt. Tohamsan, is a man-made cave that was shaped by hundreds of different granite stones. The grotto is believed to have been built by a man named Kim (Or Gim) Daeseong and was originally named Seokbulsa. The construction of the grotto began in 742 and was completed in 774. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage alongside with the Bulguksa Temple in 1995 and is classified as National Treasure No.24 by the South Korean government. 


korea travel gyeongju seokguram grotto UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic architecture

The main Buddha sculpture (Seokgayeorae-jwasang) in the grotto. Image sourced from a blog specialized in the study of the grotto.


The main Buddha sculpture of the grotto is 3.5 meters tall and sits on a 1.34-meter tall lotus pedestal. The sculpture of Buddha is supposed to represent the Seokgamoni Buddha, given that the position of the sculpture's hands symbolizes enlightenment. The appearance of this Gupta-style Buddha sculpture is strikingly serene, subtle but strong. The awe-inspiring delicacy and magnificence of the sculpture will give you chills. 


Of course the highlight of the grotto is the main Buddha sculpture as described above, but the surroundings and decorations of the grotto, such as columns, carvings on the walls, corridors, are all equally exquisite in their uniqueness and can't be missed. 


korea travel gyeongju seokguram grotto UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist art serenity traditional historic architecture

The entrance to the Seokguram grotto.


Address : 999, Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do


Opening Hours : 07:00 ~ 17:00


Admission Fees : Adults 5,000 Adolescents 3,500 Children 2,500 (free admission for those younger than 7 years old)

*Groups : Adults 5,000 Adolescents 3,000 Children 2,000


Inquiries : +84-54-746-9933


Related Website : Visit the official Gyeongju tour guide website to find out more about Seokguram.




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