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Gyeongju Travel -Relics from the time of Queen Seondeok's rule
Gyeongju Travel Journey into Silla at Korea’s Living Museum!
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Relics from the time of Queen Seondeok's rule   TV series recommended tourist sites   Gyeongju travel information
1. Relics from the time of Queen Seondeok's rule
Queen Seondeok ruled Silla Kingdom for 16 years (632-647) in the 7th century when Silla held hegemony in the Korean Peninsula. The queen had wisdom and foresight, and committed herself to the wellbeing of her people. In the 6th century, Buddhism made its way into Silla, strengthening royal authority and public solidarity. Consequently, relics dating back to the period of her reign are great examples of the Buddhist culture of the time.
Bunhwangsa Temple (분황사), commissioned by Queen Seondeok
In Korean, bunhwang means an flower emperor. As you can infer, the temple was built in honor of Queen Seondeok. Built in 634 in the third year of her rule, the temple was frequented by highly revered monks and celebrities. Most well-known personalities related to the temple are Reverend Jajangbeopsa, who served as the head of the temple by recommendation of the queen; Reverend Wonhyodaesa who stayed at the temple and wrote a Buddhist manual; and Solgeo, a famous painter of the time. Legend has it that the Gwaneumbosalsang painting that Solgeo painted on the temple wall made a blind man see.
As one steps into the temple, the first thing that comes to view is Mojeonseoktap stone pagoda, the oldest of in the Silla kingdom. Though it looks as if it was built by piling up stone bricks, it is actually made by carving into a stone. Today, only three stories remain of the pagoda, but it thought that it was originally a 7-story or 9-story pagoda.

Address: Gyeongsangbuk-do Gyeongju-si Guhwang-dong 313
Tel: +82-54-742-9922
Admission: over age 19: 1,300 won / 13-18: 1,000 won / ages 7-12 800 won
☞ Click here for more on Bunhwangsa temple
☞ Official site
Cheomseongdae (첨성대), oldest astronomical observatory in Asia
Queen Seondeok ordered the construction of Cheomseongdae Observatory to observe the stars, in an effort to strengthen royal authority and improve the quality of life of the people, This was a significant initiative in those times, because it was used to forecast the weather for good crops and observe the movement of the stars to tell the fortune of the nation. Cheomseongdae also helped strengthen royal powers as the ruler's understanding of the heaven's purpose signified stronger public belief in the ruler's divine powers. The number of stones and tiers in Cheomseongdae has a symbolic reference to the lunar calendar. There is a small building next to the right gate of the observatory with an interactive program explaining the construction of Cheomseongdae. Entry is free and multiple languages are available (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Address: Gyeongsangbuk-do Gyeongju-si Inwang-dong 839-1
Tel: +82-54-772-5134
Admission: over age 19: 500 won / 13-18: 300 won / ages 7-12: 200 won
☞ Click here for more on Cheomseongdae observatory
Hwangnyongsa temple nine-story pagoda, a treasure of Silla
The Reverend Jajangbeopsa that a nine-story wooden pagoda be built to protect against the threath of neighbouring states and hope for unification. Queen Seondeok ablidged and started work on an 80 meter high pagoda, which took 90 years and 4 kings to build. Silla Kingdom ultimately realized its dream by becoming one with Goguryeo and Baekje. However, the temple and pagoda were destroyed by fire during the invasion of the Mongolian army in 1238 in Goryeo era (918-1392).

As you travel in Gyeongju, you may see a a glass skyscraper with a unique shape. This is Gyeongju Tower, a landmark architectural achievement that was inspired by the 9-story wooden pagoda of Hwangryongsa Temple. The shape of the old pagoda goes right through the middle of the building.

Address: Gyeongsangbuk-do Gyeongju-si Guhwang-dong 320-1
Tel: +82-54-779-6061 (Gyeongju City Hall, Cultural Asset Department)
☞ Click here for more on Hwangnyongsa Temple Site (황룡사지)
Gyeongju Tower Location: Gyeongju World Culture Expo Park
Address: Gyeongsangbuk-do Gyeongju-si Cheongun-dong 130
Tel: +82-54-740-3062
☞ Official site: (Korean, English)
Date 04/08/2010

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