Ancient GyeongJu

In the historic capital of Korea, GyeongJu, Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto were our third and fourth World Heritage sites on this journey. A steep hike up to the grotto revealed an amazing stone arc-shaped room, housing a magnificent Buddha looking out over the countryside, surrounded by figures in bas-relief.

Bulguksa Temple entrance
Cairns left by visitors
Restorers at work
Cheomseongdae observatory
Ice storage house
Seokguram Grotto

The ever-present Korean street markets were a hub of activity, with parasols, kimchee pots, and roasted insects. My Japanese friend told me she ate them as a snack when she was a child.  

Roasted insects

Traditional Korean lunch and dinner.

Bibimbap
30-dish dinner

The peaceful, green hilly landscape marked the resting places of former rulers. Twenty-three tall grassy mounds, natural looking tombs, blended into the landscape in Tumuli Park. The cicadas called so loudly in the morning that I almost listened for a melody. One tomb was intact and open for viewing. The kings of the Silla dynasty were buried with adornments and favored possessions intended to equip or comfort the dead, to ward off evil, or to carry to life in the next world.

Tumuli Park

Nearby Anapchi Pond was clogged with lotus plants.

Other posts in South Korea: The soul of SeoulIcheon pottery, busy Busan.

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

22 thoughts on “Ancient GyeongJu

  1. I continue to marvel at how like and yet unlike South Korea is to the North. There’s much here that looks familiar – the food (including the insects), the history (although the DPRK has few ancient buildings left after the war) and even the cosmos flowers. I would love to visit the South and see the differences and similarities for myself one day.

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  2. Such beautiful pictures – love the lotus plants! And wow, a 30-dish dinner … that must be something special to experience. I know that they say you’ll eat anything when you’re hungry – but I think (for now at least), I’ll pass on the insects ☺️.

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  3. So many beautiful photos and temples, Ruth. No wonder South Korea’s Bulguksa temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – just look at those beautiful gardens and pagodas. I also love your photo of cairns left by visitors – it’s said that if you can add a stone to the top of a stack without it toppling over, your wish will come true. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day 🙂 Aiva xx

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  4. The 30-dish dinner looks amazing though I own that I’d be hesitant to taste much of it. (I’m such a bad traveller when it comes to trying the local food.) I watch a lot of Korean TV shows and have seen these multi-dish dinners served in what I assume are fairly normal homes. If I do ever get to Korea I think I’ll get a food guide for a day – or at least for a dinner! Definite no to chili and the insects though.
    Alison

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