Kyongju Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Kyongju

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    Ch'eomseongdae Observatory

    by schwein Written Nov 4, 2009

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    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.

    Ch'eomseongdae Observatory Ch'eomseongdae Observatory
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    Bulguk-sa Temple

    by schwein Updated Nov 4, 2009

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    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.

    Bulguk-sa Temple Bulguk-sa Temple Bulguk-sa Temple Bulguk-sa Temple Bulguk-sa Temple
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    Anapji pond

    by schwein Written Nov 3, 2009

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    King Munmu (the king responsible for unifying the Shilla, Koguryo, and Baekjae kingdoms) built Anapji Pond in 674 as a pleasure garden.
    He designed the pond so that one cannot view the entire area at once, so he could easily hide out with a servant girl or two...

    Only a small portion of the original palace remains.
    In 1975 when the pond was drained for repairs, workers found a wealth of treasures that had been dropped into the water. The relics have been restored and many are on display at the National Museum, a short walk away.

    The complex is best viewed at night, as the lit up buildings are reflected quite nicely in the pool.

    Anapji at night Anapji at night Anapji at night Anapji at night Anapji at night
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    Visit Unmoonsa Nun Temple

    by WStat Written May 22, 2008

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    Unmoonsa Nun Temple is located in Chungdo near Daegu. Unmoonsa ('Un' means cloud while 'moon' means gate) temple was founded in 560 during the Silla dynasty. But some of the buildings were burnt out during the Japanese invasion of Korea which lasted from 1592 to 1598. The temple was rebuilt and now it is a large temple with more than 30 buildings, including Daeungbojeon, the main building of the temple.
    Unmoonsa is famous for Buddhist nuns. In 1958, a special school for biguni, Buddhist nuns, was established and it was made into a Buddhist college in 1987. It has been producing a lot of monks, taking an important role as a center of Buddhist education and research institution for the sacred books. Now, there are about 260 bigunis, studying the Chinese classics and devotedly practicing the Buddhist precept, "If one doesn't work in a day, one must not eat in a day".

    Nuns morning prayer Rainy Unmoonsa Unmoonsa Nun temple Old Pine Tree
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    Go to the Gyeongju National Museum !

    by WStat Updated May 21, 2008

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    The museum houses thousands of artefacts of all ages of Koreas history. Its treasures are largely devoted to relics of the Silla kingdom, of which Gyeongju was the capital. It was founded by private citizens in 1915, and was taken over by the then-Japanese government in 1926 ;infront of the museum a pavillion is located, housing the bell of king Seongdeok,called "Emille Bell".The bell weighs some 19 tons.
    The number of historical artifacts in the collection of the National Museum is so large, that most of the objects cannot be displayed and are thus stored out of the view of the general public.

    Bell of King Seongdeok detail of the bell Gyeongju National Museum
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    See the National Treasures of Bulguksa

    by WStat Updated May 21, 2008

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    Bulguksa - "A temple leading to the land of Happiness" is home to seven National treasures of South Korea, including Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas, Cheongun-gyo (Blue Cloud Bridge), and two gilt-bronze statues of Buddha. The temple is classified as Historic and Scenic Site No. 1 by the South Korean government and was 1995 added to the UNESCO World Heritage List .
    The temple is considered as a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom.

    animal bronze Bulguksa Bulguksa Temple and Dabotap Pagoda (left) Bulguksa main square Golden Buddha Bulguksa halls
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    One of the world oldest star-gazing platforms

    by WStat Updated May 21, 2008

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    Cheomseongdae is an astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea. Cheomseongdae means star-gazing tower in Korean. Cheomseongdae is one of the oldest surviving observatories in East Asia, and one of the oldest scientific installations on Earth. It dates to the 7th century to the time of kingdom of Silla.The tower is built out of 362 pieces of cut granite. It has 27 circular layers of stones surmounted by a square structure. 12 of the layers are below the window level and 12 are above. There are 12 large base stones set in a square, with three stones on each side. These sets of 12 may symbolize the months of the year.

    The tower is 5.7 meters wide at the base and 9.4 meters tall, and filled with earth up to the level of the window. Its construction style parallels that used at the Bunhwangsa Temple in Gyeongju.

    Cheomseongdae astronomical observatory small farmhouse ny the tower
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    Visit Charmsori Gramophone Museum !

    by WStat Updated May 21, 2008

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    Mr Son Sung Mok was already fascinated by gramophones as a boy. Up until now he has dedicated his life to the collection of more than 5000 gramophones, music-boxes, old organs,radios, TV's and Hi Fi - gear as well as other inventions of T. Edison in 60 countries.
    Charmsori gramphone- and Edison-Science Museum is said to be "the largest museum combining sound and science" (quote)
    Started 1982 in the city of Gangneung it was later transferred to the Gyeongpo provincial park lake side in 2007.

    some gramohones of early 20st century front & entrance
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    Visit Seokguram Grotto

    by WStat Written May 21, 2008

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    Seokguram, located on Mt.Tohamsan, is a stone temple,made of granites.The construction started in 751 during the reign of King Gyeong-Deok of the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C.~A.D. 935) and was finished in 774 Seokguram Seokgul was designated as World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995.

    Bonjon statue in Seokguram grotto picture after a postcard
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    Visit the green Silla Tombs !

    by WStat Written May 21, 2008

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    Gyeongju was once the capital of the Silla kingdom ; a great number of tombs of the Silla-emperors can still be found in its centre. The tombs are buried beyond gigantic artificial hills, covered with grass. The tombs consist of a stone chamber which was surrounded by a soil mound. A great number of remains from the Silla period can be found all over Gyeongju. The historic area around Gyeongju was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000. Much of it is also protected as part of Gyeongju National Park.
    It is a unique experience, to stroll along the well tendered pathways between dozens of hills, each containing a tomb.

    Silla kingdom tombs map of the tomb site house between the tombs tombs walking pathway
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    Bulguk-Sa - National Treasure No. 22 & 23

    by Eurasian68 Written Jan 20, 2008

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    Chilbogyo & Yonhwagyo Bridges

    The west units of ladder-like bridges in the temple are Chilbogyo (Seven Treasures Bridge) and Yonghwagyo (Lotus Flower Bridge). Yonhwagyo, the lower bridge, has 10 stairs decorated with lotus flower designs. The upper Chilbogyo has eight stairs, leading to Kungnakjon (The Hall of Paradise) through Anhyang Gate.

    Chongungyo & Paegungyo Bridges

    Chongungyo (Blue Cloud Bridge) and Paegungyo (White Cloud Bridge) are located east of the huge stone platform of Bulguk-Sa temple. Chongungyo which is beneath Paegungyo has 18 stairs with an inclination of 45 degrees. Made of granite, the bridge is divided into two lanes. It shows the same technique of turning the corner angles backward as used in the two pagodas of the temple. Paegungyo has 16 stairs, leading to the courtyard of the temple's main hall, Taeungjon through Chaha Gate.

    The Hall of Paradise Embankment of East Side of Yonghwagyo
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    Bulguk-Sa Temple Kungnak-Jon Hall

    by Eurasian68 Written Jan 20, 2008

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    Kungnak refers to the west land of perfect bliss, which is Buddha's country. The image of seated Amitabha Buddha is enshrined in the hall. The original building of Kungnak-jon was burned up during the 16th century Japanese invasion. The hall was rebuilt in the next century and was renovated in 1925.

    A Monk Chanting Inside the Buddha Hall
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    Bulguk-Sa Temple - Historic Site No. 1

    by Eurasian68 Written Jan 20, 2008

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    Kwan Um Jon Hall - The Hall of Avalokitesvara (Bodhisattva of Compassion)

    The hall was restored 1973. The ancient original building is said to have enshrined the image of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Buddhist Goddess of Compassion) which was made in 922 during the reign of King Kyongmyong. The Avalokitesvara statue was lost in the Choson Period. Currently a gilt-bronze Buddha statue is enshrined in the hall.

    The Kwan Um Statue The Buddha Hall
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    Divine Bell of Great King Songdok - just a legend

    by Eurasian68 Updated Jan 20, 2008

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    Located on the grounds of The Kyong-Ju National Museum - National Treasure No. 29

    "A Legend About Emille Bell"
    King Kyongdok, the 35th ruler of Shilla, had a giant bell cast with 120.000 kun of copper. He wanted to hang a great bell in the belfry of Pongdok-sa temple to honor the spirit of his deceased father, King Songdok. But he died without realizing his dream of dedicating an excellent bell to his father. The next King Hyegong continued the project to cast a good bronze bell, following in the footsteps of the previous King. After all, the artisans finished casting the bell. But the bell had cracks and its sound was very poor. One day, an astrologer said that an innocent child should be offered as a sacrifice to complete a heavenly bell. Then, a monk remembered the day when a poor woman had suggested donating her baby girl when he asked her for an offering to his temple. He told other monks about it and they immediately went to the woman's house to get the baby for the offering. They finally persuaded her to contribute her baby girl and put the child into melted copper to be cast into a bell. As the bell was completed, it had a good shape with no cracks and its sound was exceptionally resounding. The bell was hung in the belfry of Pongdok-sa Temple in 771. The legend says that when the bell was first rung, it sounded like "emeeleh....", meaning mother. The bell derives its popular name Emille Bell from the legend.
    The Divine Bell of the Great King Songdok is also called Pongdok-sa Bell. The bell was moved from the temple to Yongmyo in 1460, then to Ponghwagdae and finally to the museum in Kyong-Ju in 1915.

    This is not the Emille Bell
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    Kyong-ju National Museum

    by Eurasian68 Updated Jan 20, 2008

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    A short walk from Anapji Pond lies the Kyong-ju National Museum with over 80.000 relics from the SHilla period (57 B.C.E- 935 C.E.). At any time, 2500 are on display. In front of the main building stands the bronze Divine Bell of King Seongdeok. Also called the Emile Bell, it stands over 3 meters high and weighs over 25 tons, making it Asia's largest. It makes a clear, resonating sound when rung, reputedly able to travel over 3km.
    Spaced around the museum grounds are various relics recovered from excavations around the country. Pieces of statues, temples ornaments, bridges, stupas and other monuments line the walkways.
    The museum has a 2-storey main exhibition hall and 2 annex halls. The main exhibition hall is divided into 8 sections, displaying objects from the prehistoric age to the Unified Shilla period.
    - 1. Section: earthenware, stoneware and bronze ware from the prehistoric age to Iron age
    - 2. Section: objects of the Early Three Kingdoms Period, and Shilla earthenware
    - 3.&4. Sections: collection donated by Kugun
    - 5. Section: architectural ornaments of temples and palaces
    - 6. Section: rooftiles, bricks and vessels of the Unified Shilla period
    - 7. Section: Buddhist artifacts including sarira containers and a stupa
    - 8. Section: Buddhist sculptures such as bronze and stone Buddha statues
    The two annex halls exhibit relics found in royal tombs and objects recovered from Anapchi, a pond in a royal garden.

    Kwan Seum Bosal
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Kyongju Things to Do

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