I am honored to share with you a piece of my history, in 1999, I revisited my homeland as we toured many cities and people I never met, the most special visit of them all was the Bulguksa in Gyeongju county because I toured with the man, my father who's family did most of the rebuild of the temples. That's how my parents became prearranged in marriage. My ancestors from my mothers' side is from the Silla dynasty, my grandmother walked up the Toham mountains to pray in the grotto. Which is breathtaking, you get butterfly's when stepping in a small door way that leads to a cool, dimly lit, massive granite cave with carvings and in the center of the rotunda (which represents heaven) sits a large seated Buddha in a lotus throne, perfectly lit by sunlight.
"In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away!"
In Loving memory of Hong, H.S March 22,1933 - May 6, 2011
This Buddhist temple was founded in 634 AD, under the reign of the Silla queen Sondok, by a Buddhist monk named Chajang. It remains in use to this day. Its most famous feature is the three-story stone pagoda--the oldest surviving one in Korea.
Bomun Lake Resort is called the "International Tourist District of Gyeongju". Here is where most of the 5-star hotels are concentrated. In Autumn the trees changed into different colorful hues of reds and yellows making the whole place very beautiful.
The main attraction here is the beautiful and serene "Bomunho Lake". It is such a romantic place and many obviously thought the same…I saw a lot of couples walking along the lakeside. There are small boats designed as swans and they are so lovely.
Here, you can also enjoy different facilities such as the Seonjae Art Gallery, Bomun Outdoor Performance Hall and Gyeongju World.
Cheomseongdae Observatory, it was built during the reign of Silla Kingdom Queen Seondeok ( 632~647 ). The Cheomseongdae is 5.17meters in diameter and 9.4meters in heigh, and consists of 362 stones. Cheomseongdae Observatory is the oldest Observatory in Asia.
Bulguksa Temple is the one of most great and beautiful buddhist temple of Korea. great architectural design two Pagodas stand at the temple inside( Dabotap and Seokgatap ). Bulguksa Temple was built in the 10th year of King Gyeongdeok,751 A .D. by Kim Dae-seong, in memory of his parents. It was restored to its original condition in 1973. It was designated as the UNESCO Cultural Heritage on December 6, 1995.
Among the two stone bridges on the right side of Bukguksa Temple.The lower is Cheonungyo and upper is Baegungyo. The former is 3.82m high and 5.14m wide, and the latter 3.15m high and 5.09m wide.
( National Treasure No 23 )
These two stone bridges are located on the left side of the stone staircase leading to the main entrance to Bulguksa Temple.The lower is called the Yeonhwa bridge, it is 2.3m high and 1.48m wide, and the Chilbo bridge is 4.06m high and 1.16m wide
This sarira pagoda looks in appearance like a stone lantern. Patterns are carved on the ground stone, and flowers, lotus petals, and image of buddhas. This sarira pagoda is believed to have been built in the early Goryeo period. ( Treasure No 61 )
These three standing Buddha Images are located at the foot of Mt. Namsan. They were brought here from the Seonbang temple site in 1923. From the style, these Buddha images are supposed to have been sculptured during the 7th century.
( Treasure No 63 )
Treasure 1427, this tomb shows the carving techniques on safeguard stones. Carvings on the tomb are regarded as superior to other royal Silla tombs.
The tomb is reinforced with safeguarding stones bearing the 12 oriental zodiac animals, and the mound is protected by the stone rail. There are stone figures representing civilian, military, and lion guards.
Seokguram grotto was first constructed by Prime MInister Kim Dae Seong in 751, the 10th year of Silla King Gyeongdeok. It was originally called Seokbulsa.
The layout of the grotto shows a rectangular antechamber and a round main hall. In the rotunda hall sits a majestic Buddha carved in granite. There are various figures sculpted into the wall behind the main Buddha figure.
According to the Samgukyusa, Kim Dae Seong founded Seokguram for the parents of his previous life.
Seokguram represents not only the supremacy of Silla arts, but is also regarded as the best oriental Buddhist work. Thus, along with Bulguksa, this grotto was designated in 1995 as an UNESCO world cultural heritage site.
No pictures permitted inside the actual grotto. There will be a monk or two inside watching for cameras...
This Buddhist image of Bhaisajyaguru is holding a medicine box in it's left hand. The inscriptions on the box indicate that the image was sculpted in 1774, the 50th year of Joseon King Yeongjo's reign.
This stone pagoda (designated National Treasure No. 30) was built in 634 during the reign of Queen Seondok (r.632-647). Considering the total number of brick-shaped stones that have been recovered, scholars believe this pagoda must have originally been a seven- or nine-story pagoda.
The present three-story pagoda has been reconstructed after the original's destruction by the Japanese in 1915, with the remaining stones piled beside it. Each of the four sides of the first story have a niche with hinged doors.
The figures of Vajradhara (Kumgangyoksa), guardians of the temple, are carved in relief inside the niches. Four stone lions were placed at the cardinal points on the stone platform. A stone sarira case discovered inside the pagoda contained various beads, scissors, gold, silver needles, and a silver bowl with a lid.
Ch'eomseongdae (designated National Treasure #31) means "Star Gazing Tower."
Built during the reign of Queen Seonduk in 634, it is the oldest existing observatory in the Far East. It has 27 levels of stones in a round shape (Queen Seonduk was the 27th ruler of the Shilla Dynasty) with four sets of parallel bars to make a square-shaped structure on its top. The ends of the parallel bars jut out several inches from the surface and might have been a support for a staircase used to reach the top.
The 12 rectangular base stones are positioned in a square, three on each side, representing the four seasons and twelve months of each year. The twelve tiers of stones to the window entrance and twelve tiers above the window opening also represent the 12 months of the year (or the 12 symbols of the zodiac). For over two thousand years, astronomers studied the movements of stars and planets and charted them. They predicted solar and lunar eclipses, as well as the courses of comets. Court astrologers reported and interpreted their findings to the King who would then act according to their predictions.
Originally built in 528, Bulguk-sa provides an excellent example of architecture from the Shilla Dynasty.
Literally meaning "Buddha Land", it remained intact for more than 1,000 years, until the Japanese destroyed it in 1593.
Only a few of the buildings were rebuilt before the 1970's, when it was completely rebuilt.
It is designated Historic and Scenic Place #1.
UNESCO recognized it as an international cultural property in 1995.