My winter 2018 trip to Asia. Day 15. Gyeongju (Silla Kingdom), Korea

From Daejeon, I get on a train to Daegu. There, I take an intercity bus to Gyeongju.

In South Korea the distances are short. A high-speed train from Seoul in the north to Busan in the south just takes two hours and forty minutes.

A bus ticket. It has written DongDaeGu and GYEONGJU in Korean and English. There is other information like Time, Platform, Bus Company, and a bar code.

At Gyeongju, I go to the hotel but I cannot check in until 14:00, so I leave my bag there and start my day. Some of the most historically relevant places are close to the center of the city. 

My first stop is the Daereungwon Royal Tomb. Early in the morning is a quiet place perfect to wander around. The tumuli give the place a calm appearance. As the grass has already gone to sleep for the winter, the site has a yellow pastel colour. I am surprised by the quantity and variety of birds in the park that can be seen and heard.

Silla (57 BCE– 935 CE) (Hangul: 신라; Hanja: 新羅; RRSilla Korean pronunciation: [ɕil.la]) was a kingdom located in southern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula. Silla, along with Baekje and Goguryeo, formed the Three Kingdoms of Korea.

Founded by Hyeokgeose of Silla of Park family, the Korean dynasty was ruled by the Gyeongju Gim (Kim) (김, 金) clan for 586 years, Miryang Park (Bak) (박, 朴) clan for 232 years, Seok clan for 172 years. It began as a chiefdom in the Samhan confederacies, once allied with Sui China and then Tang China, until it eventually conquered the other two kingdoms, Baekje in 660 and Goguryeo in 668.

Wikipedia contributors. (2018, December 21). Silla. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Exiting from the Royal Tomb by the North Gate, there is an entrance to the park were Cheomseongdae Observatory (경주 첨성대) is located. A few people take a small touristic bus that goes around the park. I walk all the way to the observatory. Cheomseongdae Observatory is a small structure that will not bring a lot of attention, if not because of its historical significance. 

Cheomseongdae Observatory made of stone bricks. It has a conical shape, flat at the top.

I exit the park to go to the Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond. There is traditional music in the speakers. The music adds to the relaxing feel of the surroundings. Running water falls into a small pond made in-place of stone. The stone pond is a remaining from the Silla Kingdom. I stop to enjoy the views.

A traditional Korean building reflects in the water of the pond.

Five minutes away is located the National Museum of Gyeongju. It has several galleries dedicated to the Silla Kingdom. I recognise some of the objects that are represented all over the city. A crown or a bell are symbols in signs, tiles, and many other places.

I go back to the hotel by the same path I used to get to the museum. I re-use the Daereungwon Royal Tomb ticket and take the opportunity for a last look around. I have not seen much of the city. I have spent most of the time in parks surrounded by grass, trees, birds and water.

That night I sleep over 10 hours. After many days of travelling around, a very relaxing day and a lot of sleep is a welcome change.