Now and Then: The City of Gyeongju

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Anapji, in Gyeongju, during the 1950s.

Hello Again Everyone!!

The city of Gyeongju, in Gyeongsangbuk-do, has a long and storied past that is closely tied to the Silla Kingdom. From 57 B.C. to 935 A.D., for nearly a thousand years of history, Gyeongju was the capital city of the Silla Kingdom. Formerly, Gyeongju was known as Seorabeol and Gyerim. It wasn’t until 935 A.D. that the town became known as Gyeongju. During the 992 years that the Silla Kingdom reigned, it was the longest period of rule by a single dynasty in Korean history. During this period in Korean history, the Silla Kingdom would rise from a small tribal nation to unify the entire Korean peninsula.

Dotted throughout the Gyeongju cityscape are some thirty-five national treasures and a countless amount of treasures. When Buddhism came to the Silla Kingdom in the early 6th century, it reached its zenith with the establishment of Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Hermitage in the late 8th century. In addition to these internationally famed sites, there are a countless amount of lesser known sites spread throughout the entire city including Anapji and Cheonseongdae. Additionally, there’s Chilbulam Hermitage, Sambulsa Temple, Samneung-gol Valley, and Bucheobawi on Mt. Namsan. There’s also Baeknyulsa Temple and Gulbulsa-ji on Mt. Sogeumgangsan that visitors can see when enjoying Gyeongju. There really are an amazing amount of sites to experience when visiting the thousand year old capital of the Silla Kingdom.

More recently, Gyeongju is the second largest city by area in all of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province next to Andong. And as of 2008, it had a population of nearly 270,000 people whose major source of income revolves around the tourist trade. So by promoting their past, people of today can prosper from nearly a thousand years of history.

Anapji 1970s

Anapji in the early 1970s.

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Anapji during the 1975 excavation.

Cheonseongdae

Cheonseongdae Observatory

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Bucheobawi from Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju.

Bucheobawi

Another image of Bucheobawi.

Chilbulam Gyeongju

The amazing Seven Buddhas statue at Chilbulam Hermitage.

Sambulsa

The three Buddhas from Sambulsa Temple on the western side of Mt. Namsan.

Samneung-gol

Yep, that’s someone standing on the shoulders of the Large Seated Statue of Mireuk-bul in Samneung Valley on Mt. Namsan.

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The turtle-based stele dedicated to King Taejong on Mt. Seondosan.

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An older image of the stone sculpture from Gulbulsa-ji Temple Site on Mt. Sogeumgangsan.

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The stark landscape from Mt. Sogeumgangsan, and a look towards Baeknyulsa Temple.

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Anapji as it appears today.

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An up close of Bucheobawi.

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The three Buddhas at Sambulsa Temple. Now, they’re sheltered under a wooden pavilion.

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The seven stone Buddhas at Chilbulam Hermitage.

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The Large Seated Statue of Mireuk-bul as it appears today.

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The better protected Taejong stele from Mt. Seondosan.

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A more recent picture from Gulbulsa-ji Temple Site.

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And a look over top the main hall at Baeknyulsa Temple.

One thought on “Now and Then: The City of Gyeongju

  1. Pingback: A Final Visit to Namsan and Farewell Gyeongju! | S.K. in S.K.

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