8 May 2016

경주 ♡ dipping into Korean history

After I put up my Korean notebook haul and the special post about my visit to the SM popup store in Myeongdong, it's finally time to continue on and talk about my day in Gyeongju.
I actually just recently realized why I like to do my travelogs that detailed and late... they help me revive the memories and in some cases help to sooth my wanderlust. Sometimes it makes it worse but usually it freshens up my daily life that tends to be really hectic and uneventful (at least most of it isn't really blog-worthy).

So, maybe some of you remember that I posted a couple of articles about our two-day-trip to Busan ( 1 | 2 | 3 ). We didn't return straightly to Seoul but instead had a halt at Gyeongju and spent the afternoon there, before we took the night-bus to South Korea's capital, where we arrived in the middle of the night, then.

Gyeongju (경주) is a city in the Southeast of South Korea and was the capital of the ancient kingdom Silla (신라), which is why it is that attractive for tourism with a lot of different temples, tombs and sites to visit.
Silla was a huge kingdom that ruled about two-thirds of the Korean peninsula between the seventh and the ninth century, after invading most of the other kingdoms in the warring states period (fun fact: you have such a period in Japanese, Chinese and Korean history), so you can bet that it has a really meaningful position in Korean history.

Today, I want to show you around Tumuli Park, where I had the chance to visit the ancient tombs in one of the burial mounts you will find all over the place. 

When we arrived at Gyeongju's bus terminal I was not really impressed of what I saw first. The area seemed small, and dusty from all the sand that was blown around from hot wind. The day was hot and cloudy which damped my spirit quite a lot. 

Luckily it got better when we arrived at Tumuli Park that wasn't far from the terminal and could take a walk through the green and lush around.
My boyfriend's mother tried to explain as much to me as she could while we walked around the peaceful park to visit one of the burial mounts they put up for visitors. 

You are not allowed to take photos inside but it was really fascinating and interesting.
When people moved there the first time after a longer time they had forgotten about the burried tombs and only realized they were residing on royal tombs after accidentally excavating the ancient king's funerary objects.

This is the symbol of Cheonmachong, the 'Heavenly Horse Tomb' that we visited. It's a flying horse motive they found on paintings and brich bark saddle flaps that were part of the king's furnerary objects and hint at shamanism and horse sacrifice in the early Korean state.

I can highly recommend to visit this place because the flush greenery really cheers you up and the symbols and hints of Korean history are super fascinating.
Another thing that you should definitely try if you visit Gyeongju are their famous bread/cookies that you can buy everywhere close to the center.
I was hesitant at first but they actually taste really good. They are soft and not too sweet.

In the next part, our trip to one of the Buddhist temples and photos of our night-tour will follow, where I learned more about the fascinating Cheomseongdae - the weird, small tower I will end this posting with. Similar to my Busan postings, I will link the next part in the photo below, once I put it online.

Any questions? Ask in a comment below.

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