The ancient city of Gyeongju is located in the southern part of the Korean peninsula near the coast of the Sea of Japan. Once it was the capital of the all-powerful ancient Korean state of Sil and the most prospering city of East Asia. Prime of the city has fallen on the VII-IX centuries when Silla's power extended on the greater part of the Korean peninsula. After this Gyeongju has gradually lost its former value, but the set of historical monuments of the period of his blossoming remained till our days. Nowadays Gyeongju is a small quiet town and one of the main tourist centers of Korea.
For many years Gyeongju was on the crossing of two minor railroad branches, but in 2010 a new high-speed railroad was built not far from the city. Now high-speed expresses Seoul –
stop at Sinkyondzhu's station ("New Gyeongju"). It is located 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) away from the historic center of the city. Gyeongju has become much more available to tourists.
In the suburbs of Gyeongju, there are a lot of tombs of the ancient governors of the state of Sil representing the fancy dome-shaped hills which look rather fantastically among green meadows.
In the center of the city remained the ancient astronomical observatory which is called Chkhomsonde. The tower of a stone laying is dated the 7th century and is one of the oldest remained observatories of East Asia and one of the most ancient scientific constructions on Earth.
It is pleasant to spend an hour in the shadows of the pine wood on the hot May afternoon.
One of the most picturesque ancient constructions of Gyeongju is on the bank of a pond of Anapji around which the tourist track is arranged.
It is good to ride in the park together! :)
And now we continue to get acquainted with ancient tombs.
Gyeongju is a very ancient settlement where in the old part people live in historical houses up to this day.
Many of the most known sights of Gyeongju are connected with Buddhist traditions of the ancient state of Sil. Seokguram Grotto and the temple of the Bulguksa are the first sights of Korea included in the list of the World heritage of UNESCO.
In Seokguram Grotto which was complete in 774, there is a huge statue of Buddha sitting on a throne in the form of a lotus with crossed legs. It is not allowed to make photos inside, but it is possible to photograph some bright multi-colored small lamps decorating the platform in front of a grotto. :)
Finally, we visited the temple complex of the Bulguksa that was built in 751 during the blossoming of the state of Sil.
All above mentioned is only a little bit of what you may see in Gyeongju, but I didn't have a whole day in my order and now it is time to come back. I am very glad that I made this trip to Korea, one of the most interesting corners of Asia. It's nice that during one travel I managed to visit both Koreas at once. They are so different. But even despite the border between them, it is still difficult to imagine them separately from each other. :)