We traveled all over Gyeongju today, touring all of its most historic sites. First, we went to the royal tombs including Cheonmacheong which stands for flying horse tomb. This tomb contained an unknown royal man where archaeologists found thousands of artifacts including a large gold crown as well as a painting of a flying horse. An interesting other find was another man buried under the stones. It is thought that this man was a thief trying to steal the artifacts but due to the design of the tomb the overhead stones crushed him as he made his way inside. After we went to the tomb, I was volunteered to dress in traditional Silla fashion. It was oddly comfortable in the heat even with all of the layers. I’m still wearing my sneakers though and I’m pretty sure they did not have sneakers in the early BCs.
We then went to the old observatory that is still standing even though it was built in the 7th century. It is considered the oldest observatory in Asia and possibly the world. After, we went to Donggung Palace and the Wolji pond. This is the palace where the Silla royalty would hold parties and big meetings. It is able to hold up to 1000 people with room to spare. They also have the view of the oldest manmade pond. Wolji pond was built to embody the Taoist paradise with running water and large islands built into it. There are even koi fish inside the pond.
The next locations are some of the most important Buddhist temples in all of Korea. Seokguram was built on the side of a mountain and includes the only manmade stone cave which contains the Buddha statue. The next temple is at the foot of the mountain and is called Bulguksa. This temple is full of national treasures including the two pagodas that sit outside of the main building. They’re called Dabotap and Seokgatap and they’re actually original from the Silla dynasty in the 7th century.