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About Gyeongju

General Information > About Gyeongju

Gyeongju is one of Korea's national treasures and World's important resource of culture and history. It is located on the South-Eastern part of the Korean Peninsula. With the clean oceanic East Sea area and magnificent natural scenery along the coast, Gyeongju is an optimal city of leisure and marine tourism. It is a complex urban-rural city where agriculture, livestock and fisheries are developed along with its great natural environment.

Gyeongju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla Dynasty from 57 BC to 935 AD. There are a lot of tombs and relics all over the historical city, and precious relics are yet uncovered which help throw more light on what life and culture were like during the period of Silla Dynasty.

Gyeongju is often referred to as "the museum without walls". Among such historical treasures, Seokguram grotto, Bulguksa temple, Gyeongju Historic Areas and Yangdong Folk Village are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It is one of the ten ancient Asian cities with the greatest cultural treasures. Eight to nine million domestic and foreign tourists visit this historic city every year.

Bulguksa Temple
Bulguksa Temple (불국사) has a unique design that is believed to reflect the ideal world of Buddha. One of Korea's most cherished remnants of the Silla Dynasty (57-935 BC), the temple embodies the mysticism and beauty of Buddhism, which served as the spiritual and cultural backbone of the Silla Dynasty. Along with its deeply significant cultural roots, Bulguksa Temple is also valued as the pinnacle of architecture and art of the 8th century. Together with Seokguram Grotto, Bulguksa Temple was officially designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1995.

Seokguram Grotto
Carved into the stone of the mountainside and covered with sod, the outside of Seokguram Grotto hides an impressive inside. In the middle of the granite sanctuary you'll find a seated Buddha statue, which is regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of the latter part of the Silla Dynasty. Delicately sculpted to look like rough granite woven into silk, the Seokgamoni Buddha captures the spirit of ultimate enlightenment a spirit of peace which seems to come alive through the craftsmen's superior handling of the Buddha's peaceful facial expression and elegant posture.

In Daereungwon Tumuli Park Belt are located tombs and burial places of high personages including kings, queens, and nobility. Based on its distinct areas, it is divided into the Tumuli in Hwangnam-ri, Tumuli in Nodong-ri, and Tumuli in Noseo-ri. When the tombs were excavated, rare and precious artifacts were discovered, including the Geumgwan Gold Crown, the Cheonmado Heavenly Horse painting, glass drinking vessels, and a variety of earthenware, displaying the essence of Silla culture as well as the era’s way of life.

Gyeongju National Museum
The Gyeongju National Museum displays a permanent collection of some of the Silla Kingdom's most valuable treasures. Divided into the Archeology Hall, Art Hall, Wolji Hall, and Special Exhibition Hall, the museum displays over 3,000 pieces. Some must-sees include the The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok (Seongdeokdaewangsinjong, National Treasure No. 29) and the 2nd floor Art Hall, which contains Buddhist art from the Silla Period as well as an intricate model of the nine-story wooden pagoda of Hwangnyongsa Temple.

Cheomseongdae Observatory
Cheomseongdae is the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia. The observatory was necessary in the Silla period to aid in agriculture, a key sector. The movement of stars was used to predict the fortune of the nation. The number of stones and floors of Cheomseongdae are symbolic of altitudes.

Gyeongju Donggung and Wolji (Imhaejeonji, Anapji)
This huge pond inside the royal palace of Silla is now lit up at night, creating a splendid night view. Relics unearthed at the site over a ten year excavation period are housed separately in the Anapji Hall at the Gyeongju National Museum.

Underwater Tomb of King Munmu
The underwater tomb of King Munmu (ruled from 661 to 681) who unified the Three Kingdoms (676) is about 36 kilometers away from downtown Gyeongju. According to his last will, King Munmu requested that he be cremated and scattered in the sea so that he can become a dragon and thwart foreign invasions. His remains were cremated in the Buddhist tradition.

If you want to see more information for travel, please visit the Gyeongju Tourguide Website.
Beautiful Gyeongju Tourguide