Destinations by Region

Bonghwangdae (Gyeongju) (봉황대-경주)

  • Bonghwangdae (Gyeongju) (봉황대-경주)
261, Nodong-dong, Gyeongju-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do
경북 경주시 노동동 261
Monuments/ Historical Sites
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  • Information
    Bonghwangdae is an ancient tomb of Silla located in the tomb cluster of Nodong-dong. The tomb is an impressive 82 meters in diameter and 22 meters in height, making it look more like a hill than a tomb due to its humongous size. Though said to be the tomb of a king, this has not been verified since the tomb has never been excavated.

    The name “Bonghwang” (meaning “phoenix”) comes from the legend of Wanggeon and the geomancer. Wanggeon was waiting for the fall of the Silla Kingdom and decided to seek the help of a geomancer. The geomancer said that the kingdom of Silla was shaped like a ship and that this “ship” must sink in order for the kingdom to fall. After promising Wanggeon that he could sink the ship of Silla, the geomancer sought an audience with the king of Silla.

    The geomancer told the king that the land of Silla resembled the shape of the Bonghwang (phoenix) and that the bird was about to fly away, which would bring about the ruin of the kingdom. The king, who had been worrying about domestic affairs, believed the geomancer and asked him for a solution. The geomancer told the king that if he made a hill that looked like an egg at the capital city, the “bird” wouldn’t fly away, but would stay to protect her egg and the kingdom. As a result, the king made of lot of ancient tombs, one of which was the sizable Bonghwangdae Tomb.

    Legend has it that Silla truly was shaped like a ship, not a phoenix, and all these tombs symbolized the “overloading” of the ship, leading to the eventual ruin of the kingdom. After the fall of Silla, Wanggeon rose to power and later became the founder of the Goryeo Dynasty.


    Current Status
    Historic Site No. 38 (as of January 21, 1963)

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