Gyeongju is known as “the museum without walls” because of the vast number of cultural properties and archaeological sites of the city. It is one of the major metropolican cities in the Republic of Korea, located in the present North Gyeongsang province. The cultural heritages of Gyeongju are the witnesses of the important role this city has played in the millennium of history in the Silk Roads. The city holds some of the first UNESCO designated heritage sites in the country, including Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple, both added in 1995. In 2000, the Gyeongju Historic Areas were designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Gyeongju Excursion - 1N 2D
Within Daereungwon Tomb Complex is Cheonmachong Tomb, which was excavated in 1973.It consists of a wooden coffin placed inside an underground chamber mounded with boulders and earth, characterized as a typical upper class tomb of the Silla period. The mound has a height of 12.7 m with a diameter of 50 m, and consists of a layer of rocks collected from streams. Below the rock layer is a wooden chamber that is 6.5 m long and 2.1 m wide, reaching 2.1 m in height, with the wooden coffin at its center. A total of 11,526 artifacts were discovered within the tomb, including Cheonmado, an artwork considered highly valuable as it is Korea's first artwork to be excavated from an ancient tomb.
Cheomseongdae Observatory is the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. Constructed during the reign of Queen Seon-deok, it was used to observe stars in order to forecast the weather. This stone structure is a beautiful combination of straight lines and curves, and was designated as National Treasure No.31. It was built in a cylinder shape with stones 30cm in diameter. 362 stones were piled up to make 27 levels. The inside is filled with soil up to the 12th level, and the 19th, 20th, 25th, and 26th levels all have long rocks hanging on two areas, shaped as the Chinese letter '井'. The 362 stones used to build Cheomseongdae represented the 362 days in a lunar year.
Gyeongju Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond was the secondary palace site which was used by the crown prince of the Silla Kingdom. It also served as a banquet site for important national events and important visitors. After the fall of Silla, the site was abandoned and forgotten. The pond was referred to as "Anapji" during the Goryeo and Joseon periods. In the 1980s, a pottery fragment with letters “Wolji” carved onto it was found, revealing the true name of the pond. After the discovery, the site was renamed to the current Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond.
Bulguksa Temple is a representative relic of Buddhist culture from the Silla kingdom. The temple was built in 528 BC during the 15th year of King Beop-heung's reign to wish for peace and prosperity for all. It was later rebuilt by Kim Dae-seong. Starting in 1920, the temple has undergone continual restoration work. The temple now holds seven national treasures, a number of additional important heritages, and was designated a World Cultural Heritage Site along with the nearby Seokguram Grotto by UNESCO in December 1995.
Seokguram Grotto, located on Tohamsan Mountain, is the representative stone temple of Korea. It is an artificial stone temple made of granite. The construction was started by Kim Dae-Seong during the reign of King Gyeong-Deok of the Silla Kingdom and it was finished twenty-four years later, during the reign of King Hye-Gong. Inside the round-shaped main hall are the Bonjon Statue, Bodhi-sattva and his disciples. The Bonjon figure wearing a generous smile is seated on the stage engraved with a lotus flower design. The rounded ceiling looks like a half-moon or a bow and has a lotus flower decorated cover on it. The view of the sunrise is quite beautiful and many people hike the mountain at daybreak.
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