Gyeongju Historic Areas
The Gyeongju Historic Areas of South Korea contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the flowering, in particular between the 7th and 10th centuries, of this form of unique artistic expression. The historic areas sometimes known as one of the largest outdoor museums in the world were designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000.
Organization of the areas
Mount Namsan Belt
The Mount Namsan belt is anchored by Mount Namsan, a mountain that was held sacred by the Silla people. Both Buddhist artifacts and artifacts related to Shamanism that predate the introduction of Buddhism to Korea have been found at this site. Buddhist artifacts include the ruins of 122 temples, 53 stone statues, 64 stone pagodas, and sixteen stone lanterns. Other notable sites include the Namsan Mountain Fortress (built in 591 CE), the Poseokjeong Pavilion site (famous for its abalone-shaped watercourse), and the Seochulji Pond. Mount Namsan is famous for the various Buddhist images carved into the rocks and also show the progression and maturation of Silla sculpture during the Unified Silla period. The most famous example of these reliefs is the Buddha Rock. This bas-relief is located in the Tapgol Valley and consists of three walls decorated with the images of Buddha and his disciples. Tumuli of the Silla kings dating from the 2nd century until the 10th century are also found at this belt.
The Wolseong Belt
Relics found in the Wolseong Belt include Wolseong Fortress, where the Silla palace once was located; Gyerim Fortress,birthplace of Kim Alji, founder of the Gyeongju Kim Clan; the site of Imhaejeon Hall, built during the Unified Silla Kingdom; and Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory, the oldest surviving observatory in East Asia.
The Tumuli Park Belt
The temples of Hwangnyongsa and Bunhwangsa offer glimpses into the magnificence of Korea’s ancient temples.According to the excavated foundation stones, Hwangnyongsa was the largest temple ever built in Korea and covered 72,500㎡. The Bunhwagsa Temple exists today at a fraction of its size. In the past, it was one of the most important Buddhist temples.
Sanseong (Fortress) Belt
Myeonghwal Mountain Fortress was built in the fourth century with advanced construction technologies that were later passed on to Japan.