King Munmu, the 30th king of Silla
He succeeded King Taejong Muyeol, and unified the three kingdoms. He defeated the Tang forces, and laid a foundation for the prosperity of the unified Silla. 

“When I die, take my ashes to the East Sea. I will become a dragon and protect Silla against Japanese raiders!”
- King Munmu’s will

According to his will, an internationally unprecedented underwater royal tomb came to existence in the waters off Gampo, Gyeongju. It is ‘the Underwater Tomb of King Munmu.’

The country whose king wished to protect it even after his death

Silla (57 BC ~ AD 935)

Silla was ‘a millennium kingdom’ that achieved the cultural unification of the three kingdoms, Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla. Gyeongju is a historic city that has preserved Silla’s culture, relics, and soul.

It is a rare city that has 1000 years of history as a capital of a country. The entire city is like an ancient history museum of Korea.

Named as one of the 10 most important historic sites by UNESCO in 1979
Introduced in UNESCO’s World Heritage Series
The entire city is registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage with 5 main areas.

Gyeongju fascinates its visitors with its rich cultural and historical assets. 

Seokguram Grotto

The pinnacle of Eastern Buddhist art

There is no comparison to this masterpiece in the East.
- Sekino Tadashi, Japanese art historian and architect

Common materials used in the world’s famous architectures:
Soft and more amenable limestone or soil

However, the Seokguram Grotto used something different that surprised the world:
‘Granite’ Silla’s sculptors created this soft and exquisite artwork by finely cutting tough granite. The Buddha statue in Seokguram has attracted high praise internationally.

“The niches were created like weaving silk with stone.”

Ideal proportions and symmetry 
Face: chest: shoulder: knee = 1:2:3:4

There is a round dot in the middle of his forehead. This dot was sculpted multi-dimensionally in order to reflect sunlight to the foreheads of the eleven-faced Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, in the rear.

Such design maximizes lighting effects in the grotto, which attests to Silla’s advanced technology. It reveals the height of Silla’s technology that even modern technology cannot reproduce. Seokguram is evidence of the level of Silla’s technology and the essence of its art.

Bulguksa Temple

The zenith of an outstanding combination of science, art, and religion
Designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1995

There is no other temple in the East that reveals better techniques in carving stone and interlocking wood than this one. – Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms

Bulguksa has preserved Korea’s rich Buddhist cultural heritage until today.

Delicate and magnificent temple
‘Bulguksa Temple’

There are two pagodas that represent the Bulguksa Temple.

Seokgatap pagoda

Perfect proportion and balance
Simple and dignified grace

The perfect symmetry and stability were the result of careful calculations. It was designed to create an ascending optical illusion.

Dabotap pagoda
Individual stones were assembled perfectly with no use of adhesive. Exact symmetrical balance and exquisite decorations. Seokgatap and Dabotap pagodas are the products of the combination of Silla’s Buddhism, technology, and artistic soul. The world cultural heritage of Bulguksa hosts both of these two pagodas.

Cheomseongdae,the world’s oldest observatory

Cheomseongdae presents a great harmony of straight lines and curves.

It is composed of 362 stone pieces, representing the days of a lunar year, and a square-shaped upper stone that points to the directions of east, west, south and north.  Cheomseongdae reflects the wisdom of the Silla people, who attempted to use the knowledge gained from observing astronomical changes. Silla’s advanced scientific knowledge was integrated into the construction of Cheomseongdae.

Silla tombs 
The treasure houses of Silla’s millennium history

Geumgwanchong, Geumnyeongchong, Seobongchong,
Cheonmachong, and Hwangnamdaechong tombs

23 tombs of Silla’s kings, queens and nobility

The tombs contained invaluable artifacts that show life during Silla. 
Golden crowns, Cheonmado (painting of a heavenly horse), glasses, and pottery

Old tomb parks are like time capsules that bring visitors into the glorious Silla culture.
A golden crown of Silla, a country of golden artwork
The Silk Road started in Europe and ended here.

Around 70% of the unearthed golden crowns in the world are concentrated in Korea. Korea is highly praised as a country of golden crowns.

Among all of them, Silla’s golden crowns are the most exquisite.

Beyond China, across Qansu, there is a country with many mountains and an abundant of gold, called Shilla. Muslims who happen to go there are fascinated by the good environment and tend to settle there for good and do not think of leaving the place.
- Kitabu’l Masalik wa’l Mamalik (Ibn Khurdadhibah, Arabic geographer)

The reputation of Silla’s golden culture spread even to the Arab world. The result of the advanced golden culture was the golden crowns of Silla.

Namsan Mountain
The place to experience Silla’s spirits 
Namsan Mountain was the realization of Buddha’s land that the Silla people had longed for.

147 temple sits
13 royal tombs
118 Buddha statues
96 pagodas

13 national treasures
13 historical sites
Namsan Mountain in Gyeongju is called the outdoor museum of Silla.

Throughout Gyeongju, there remain many Buddha statues from Silla’s 1000 years of history.

Na-eul Shrine and Namsanseong Fortress  
The historic sites where many important events occurred during Silla
Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju witnessed everything throughout Silla history.

Manpasikjeok Flute
A legendary flute that reflected Silla’s wishes for peace
According to a legend, the sound of this flute would resolve all the worries and concerns of the country and the people.

The legend shows what the Silla people desired the most.

This flute delivers the Silla people’s old wish to us.

Can you hear this flute’s sound?

The country whose king wished to protect it even after his death

The beginning and the end of Silla’s millennium history
The Eastern end of the Silk Road

Long live Silla
Home of the millennium kingdom, Gyeongju

Gyeongju holds a collection of Silla’s history, science, culture and art.
Gyeongju is a time-honored fascinating city with over 200 cultural assets.
This city will take you to the glorious past of Silla.

Are you interested in a trip to Gyeongju?
VANK members are here for you.
We will take you through the culture and history of Silla.

The flute of hope, Manpasikjeok
In Gyeongju, you will hear the resonant sound of Manpasikjeok.

It is the welcoming voice of Koreans.

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