old city of Gyeongju with a new look
Gyeongju Travel Blog› entry 13 of 17 › view all entries
May 30th, 2009 – by: portia
We were kind of worried that when we leave Gyeongju in a couple of days, we would have to do the same stairs at the station!
So we got out of the station and found a taxi to the hotel, which turned out to be farther than I thought. Put another way, Gyeongju is bigger than I imagined. After checking in and taking a little break, we asked the hotel to find us a way to tour some nearby sights. They had packaged rates for seeing 2 nearby sights together, with waiting by the taxi for 50000, which is a lot cheaper than the taxi we took to Mt Aso! It turned out to the same taxi driver who took us from the train station. Anyway, off we went to Seokguam Grotto. Which again was a lot farther than I thought from looking at the map.
Seokguram Grotto is a national treasure of Korea, first constructed in the year 751. The main chamber is round with the dome shaped like a parisol over the buddha, around him the wall were carved in high relief with 4 heavenly guardians, and the antechamber also had carved guardian Gods.
Afterwards, we visited Bulguksa, a sprawling restored temple from also the year 751. It was the center of Silla Buddhism and of prayer. The entire temple was burned by Japanese invaders in 1593,, and it was not until 1969-1973 that it was complete restored. The two stone pagodas, the 2 bridges (really stone steps), the middle Anyangmum gate, the Amitabha buddha statue in the very back hall of the temple complex and the Varocana buddha in the main hall were culture relics. This and Seokguam were both UNESCO world cultural heritage sites.
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