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November 2-5, 2015
Hotel Hyundai, Gyeongju, Korea


Recommended Tour Courses

Half day Course 1: Anapji Course

  • Gyeongju Donggung and Wolji (Imhaejeonju, Anapji)
  • Address Contact address
    102, Wonhwa-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-779-8795~7
  • In the town of Gyeongju there are more palaces and royal Silla heritage sites. Cheomseongdae, Gyerim, Wolseong and Anapji are directly connected to the palaces of Silla. Nodongdong, Noseodong,

Gobungun, Daereungwon, Hwangori in Wangli Gobungun are the tombs of the royal family and nobility. Hwangryeongsateo and Bunhwangsa are large temples of Silla. It is great to just walk or cycle around town to see the elegance and majesty of Silla. The lotus fields around Anapji are beautiful like a painting and the canola blossoms around Cheomseongdae make a spectacular backdrop. The beautiful lighting at night makes it perfect for nighttime sightseeing and the evening performances at Anapji will make for a unique experience.

  • Gyeongju Wolseong
  • Address Contact address
    47, Muncheon-gil, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-779-8743~8759
  • Gyeongju Wolseong is shaped like a crescent so it was also called Shinwolseong, but from the Choseon Dynasty it has been called Banwolseong, meaning Half-moon Fortress. It is historical site no. 16.

The Silla palace used be located inside the fortress, and Seokbinggo, which was used as a refrigerator in the Choseon Dynasty, is also within Banwolseong. A canola field surrounds Banwolseong and tall tree make a forest around the fortress walls. Walking around the fortress you can understand why the palace was built here.
Before the fortress was built, a person called Hogong used to live here, but when Talhae was young he tricked Hogong out of this land. There was a legend that King Namhae heard this story and made Talhae his son-in-law, so Talhae became the fourth king of Silla.
The east of Banwolseong connects to Imhaejeon and Anapji, and the north connects to Cheomseongdae and to the south Namcheon (Nam Stream) provides protection. It is difficult to envisage this as a palace now, but it has become a beautiful cherry tree forest. It is a great place for a walk.

  • Gyeongju Cheomseongdae
    (Cheomseongdae Observatory in Gyeongju)
  • Address Contact address
    169-5, Cheomseong-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-772-5134
  • Opposite Daereungwon along a footpath you can see Cheomseongdae in the shape of a traditional liquor jar. Not quite 10 meters tall, it used to be

the observatory of Silla and its shape is a harmony of straight and curved lines, looking somewhat like a bottle, with stones laid on the top in the shape of a hash symbol. Even though it is quite small, it is amazing that it has been standing for over 1,000 years in the palace grounds.
The background of Cheomseongdae is one of agriculture where the movements of the moon, sun and stars dictated the cycle of sowing and reaping.
Also, in ancient societies, astrology was deeply connected to the governing of people and the rise and fall of kingdoms. In fact the south face of Cheomseongdae looks toward the Great Bear constellation, which was used, in conjunction with the relative positions of other constellations, to govern affairs of state. The name of the street around the south face is Bidugil (First Street). It was built during the reign of Queen Seondeok and is the oldest observatory in Asia, showing the advanced level of science for that time. It has titled toward the northeast slightly now, but is amazingly well preserved.
In Samgukyousa (a historical record of the history of Baekjae, Goguryeo and Silla) it was recorded that Cheomseongdae was built during the reign of Queen Seondeok, and in Shinjeungdongukyeojiseunglam (a geographical treatise written in the Choseon Dynasty) it says that people go up and down this building of 19 cheok (1 cheok is the length of a man's arm (about 30.3 cm)) in height to observe the stars.
However, today Cheomseongdae seems very small and being on a plain and with a small entrance, there is doubt as to Cheomseongdae's function. It might have been a ceremonial platform or architecture related to Buddhism.
The canola blossoms and lotus fields across the street from Cheomseongdae make a spectacular backdrop.
It is great to just walk or cycle around town to see the elegance and majesty of Silla. Cheomseongdae is a great starting point for a bicycle tour of Gyeongju.

Half day Course 2: Bulguksa Course

  • Gyeongju Bulguksa Temple
  • Address Contact address
    15 Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-746-9913 / www.bulguksa.or.kr
  • According to Samguk Yusa, Bulguksa Temple was built on the 10th year (751) of the reign of King Gyeongdeok.

King Gyeongdeok's era, when Silla stabilized after the unification of the Three Kingdoms and when cultural capabilities were high, was the golden year of Silla culture; and at that time, Silla people were very proud that Silla was the Buddha's land.
The strong devotion of the Silla people was realized with the development of science and technology,
excellent building techniques, and artistic sensibility. Bulguksa Temple was created with such devotion.
That is why the real power of Bulguksa Temple does not come merely from its beautiful scenery, quiet temple mood, and superior construction techniques.
Let us reflect on the name Bulguk (Buddha's land) by embracing the spirits of the Silla people a thousand years ago. The precinct area is divided into the following three areas: Dae Ung Jeon, Geuk Rak Jeon, and Bi Ro Jeon, where three Buddhas are enshrined.
Each area is composed of a staircase and a door at the entrance, a central building, and a corridor that surrounds them. The Dae Ung Jeon area indicates the world of suffering of the Sakyamuni Buddha, the Geuk Rak Jeon area represents the Land of Happiness of the Amitabul, and the Bi Ro Jeon area corresponds to the lotus-flowered world of Birojanabul.
Supposing these three areas located on the stones are the world of Buddha, the area under these stones is the world of human beings. Cheongun•Baegun Bridge and Yeonhwa•Chilbo Bridge connect these two worlds.
Carefully observing the construction techniques of the stones and the bridges, anyone can easily notice that the skills of the Silla people who used the stones were not common.
Seokgatap Tower and Dabotap Tower, which face each other in the yard of the Dae Ung Jeon area,
are the highlights of the Bulguksa constructions. The graceful-looking Seokgatap Tower is definitely different from the luxurious Dabotap Tower, but it shows the completion of beauty through symmetry and balance, as well as diversification and harmony, in keeping with the peripheral buildings.

  • Gyeongju Seokguram
  • Address Contact address
    999 Jinhyeon-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-746-9933 / www.sukgulam.or.kr
  • Kim Dae-seong, the Prime Minister in the 10th year of King Gyeongdeok's reign in the Silla era (751), established Seokguram Cave.

At that time, it was called Seokbulsa. During King Gyeongdeok's reign (742-765), a lot of cultural properties, including Bulguksa Temple, Hwangnyongsadaejong Bell, and Seokguram Cave, were made, which made the period the heyday of Silla's Buddhist art. The plane structure of the stone grotto is square in front and round at the back.
The Bonjonbul (the principle Buddha) statue is at the center, and various statues are carved on its girth, such as the Cheonbusang, Bosalsang, Nahansang, Geosasang, Sacheonwangsang, Inwangsang, and Palbusinjungsang statues. Unlike the stone grottos in Indian or Chinese temples, this stone grotto, which was assembled with artificially trimmed granite, is a masterpiece that harmoniously combines the ideal Buddhist world, science and technology, and sophisticated carving skills. Moreover, this stone grotto has a rectangular front chamber (entrance) and a circular main chamber, which are connected by a passage (corridor).
The round ceiling of the main chamber is made of about 360 flat stones. This degree of construction skill is very rare, and the excellent technique used can hardly be paralleled in world history.
The Samguk Yusa (the Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) records that Kim Dae-Seong built Seokguram Cave for his parents. Seokguram Cave is the culmination of Silla art and is valued as representative of Oriental Buddhist art. The Cave was registered in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1995.

Full day Course: Tourist Attractions to show

  • Daeneungwon
  • Address Contact address
    Gyerim-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-779-8795
  • On the size of about 126,500 ㎡ in the city center of Gyeongju, 23 ancient tombs including that of King Mich'uwang in the Silla era lie.

There used to be numerous tombs in addition to the existing ancient tombs though, having developed the area into the park zone centering on tombs with a grave mound left it as it looks now.
Excavated relics were all transferred to museums and Ch'onmach'ong where discovered tombs site and funerary objects were made to the public provides the almost only opportunity to show the inside the tombs of the Silla era. The tomb of King Mich'uwang of which tale is related to an interesting bamboo-leaf soldier and Hwangnamdaech'ong Tomb which is considered to be a couple's tomb are representative ancient tombs of Daeneungwon. Coupled with their special stories that were created by small and large tombs of the Silla era, it gives a feeling of satisfaction to its visitors all year round, thanks to its cozy sceneries that greet visitors.

  • Gyeongju Gyodong Choi Family Ancestral Home
  • Address Contact address
    25, Gyochonan-gil, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-779-6109
  • The ancestral home of the Choi family is right next to Namcheon. The original form of Choseon Yangban architectural style is completely preserved in this home.

It is a highly culturally valuable. The house used to have 99 rooms and covered up 6,600 M2 and the back garden alone covered 33,000 M2.
Nowadays we can only see the square shape of the main building with the guest house that has been recently rebuilt after it was burned down in the 1970s.
The current building stands on what used to be Yoseok Palace where Princess Yoseok used to live. Princess Yoseok fell in love with Wonhyo (a famous Buddhist monk and scholar) and gave birth to Seolchong (a famous monk and scholar). The Choi family in the mid Chosen Dynasty.
The had been rich for 10 generation (300 years) and had produced 9 local government ministers in that time.
The Choi family motto was “fortune is like manure, if you put it one place it becomes smelly and rotten, but if you spread it around it becomes a good fertilizer” and was their family philosophy. So they practiced charity throughout all the generations. They also practiced modesty and loyalty and didn't believe in the absolute value of anything.
The great grandfather of the current head of the Choi family, Choi Jun, had the pen-name of 'Daewoo' which means 'big foolish', and his father's pen-name was 'Duncha' which means 'dull so cannot be the first'.
When you walk into the ancestral home of the Choi family you can feel their philosophy “do not allow anyone to starve to death within 100 li (40 km)”, the philosophy of noblesse oblige.
Anyone who lives in Gyeongju knows of the Choi family, but recently, after being featured on the TV program Myeongga they consequently have even more guests. Gyodong Beopju has become one of the most important intangible cultural assets. Right next to the Choi family home there is a restaurant called Yoseokgung where you can taste the flavor of the Choi family's traditional home cooking.

  • Gyeongju Munmudaewangneung
    (Underwater tomb of The Great King Munmu)
  • Address Contact address
    26 Bonggil-ri,Yangbuk-myeon, Gyeongju-si 054-779-8743
  • "When I die, I will become a dragon to follow the teachings of the Buddha and preserve our country's peace, so put my ashes in the East Sea.

(omitted) When I breathe my last breath, burn my body, and the funeral ceremony should be simple and frugal." The Great King Munmu paved the way for the unified Silla, the age of glorious civilization, by finishing the great work of the unification of the Three Kingdoms! He was so determined to protect his country from enemies even after his death.
According to his will 'Cremate my body in the yard (assumed to be Gyeongju Neungjitapji) outside the Gomoon (the door of palace)', it is presumed that his body was cremated around the Gyeongju Neungjitapji and his bones were set in here, the Royal Tomb of the Great King Munmu.
It can be seen from the open sea of Daebon-ri, Gampo, where Daejoncheon (stream) originating from the back of the Tohamsan flows into the East Sea. It looks like a plain rock from a distant, but the center of the rock is dug like a pond upon close inspection.
There is an opinion that it is the 'Sangolcheo', the place where the king's bones were scattered, instead of a place where the bones were buried.
The Munmudaewangneung(Underwater tomb of The Great King Munmu) According to the last words of King Munmu, who unified the Three Kingdoms and said that he would be a dragon to protect Silla from the Japanese invaders when his body was buried in the East Sea after cremation, the middle part of the natural reefs with the girth of about 200m in the East Sea was dug to bury his bones.
On top of this, one huge rock 3.7m in length, 1.45m in height, and 2.6m in width was put while a waterway was made in all directions to enable clean water to enter and leave all the time.
It is said that the Manpasikjeok tale of Silla described the scene of making the tomb in the sea according to King Munmu's will.

  • Bunhwangsa
    (Stone pagoda of Bunhwangsa Temple)
  • Address Contact address
    277-3, Wonhyo-ro, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-742-9922
  • Bunhwangsa (temple) is built in the third year of Queen Seondeok's ruling in 634. It is also known as the temple in which monk Ja Jang and Won Hyo stayed.

It is also reportedly known for the painting of the unremaining Cheonsudaebi, which is said to have enabled a blind five-year-old girl named 'Hui Myeong' to regain her sight after praying song of Cheonsudaebi in front of Cheonsudaebi under the reign of King Gyeongdeok.
At present, Bunhwangsa pagoda, Hwajongguksa monument (National Mentor of Hwajong), stone pavilion and two stone flagpole supporters remain. The Bunhwangsa pagoda is the one that imitated Jeonseoktap' (brick-looking pagoda), the first ever stone pagoda built in the Silla era. It is considered a masterpiece Andesite It is the oldest pagoda in existence as it was built by people from the era of the Silla Kingdom.
Now consisting of only three stories, it is said to have been originally a nine-story pagoda, but there is no evidence that confirms this. This was done by piling up brick-looking andesite. Vajra Guardian Images engraved on the doorjamb is a masterpiece of all times.

  • Gyeongju Gyerim
  • Address Contact address
    27-8, Gyochonan-gil, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 054-779-8743
  • Gyeongju Gyerim is where the birth myth of Kim Al Ji, the first ancestor of the Gyeongju Kim family, who ruled Silla for a thousand years.

King Talhae, in the fourth year of his reign, heard a hen calling and sent one of his subjects to Shirim. At Shrim there was a golden box hanging in a tree and a white hen was crying.
In the box was a smart looking boy who grew up to be very intelligent, so King Talhae name him Al Ji and gave him the family name of Kim, because he came from a golden box.
Maybe because of this myth, Gyerim, which is located between Cheomseongdae and Wolseong, seems more mysterious. Later King Talhae named Kim Al Ji his heir, but he didn't want to be king. However, seven generations later, King Michu became the first King of Silla from the Kim family. The name of Shirim was changed to Gyerim, after the hen.
When you walk inside Gyerim there is a very old tree whose trunk is almost gone but the branches remain alive.
There is also the tombstone on which is engraved the birth myth of Kim Al Ji, erected by King Sunjom of the Choseon Dynasty.
There are many old trees creating a unique forest. The 17th king of Silla's tomb, King Naemul, is located at the edge of Gyerim. Near Gyerim there are five more large tombs and a large grass expanse in which you can imagine the Silla Millennium Capitol. Other sights around Gyerim are Cheomseongdae, Cheonnmachong (Daerweungwon), Anapji, Wolseong, the National Museum of Gyeongju, Hwangryeongsaji, and Bunhwangsa.
These are within walking distance within the environs of Gyeongju.

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