Friday, 22 November 2013

Gyeongju - Ancient Silla Capital: Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

Next our explorations took us to Anapji Pond, an exotic garden built in the 7th century for King Munmu, one of the rulers of the Silla Dynasty.

You can see artists sitting and painting by the banks of the pond.

After a walk around the pond we were close to the painters we'd seen from the other side.
Angela posing in the bamboo garden.

After leaving Anapji behind we caught a bus up to the grounds of Bulguksa Temple. 
On the path up to the temple we saw more gorgeous autumn scenery.

Bulguksa is considered a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom. In fact, the temple is classified as Historic and Scenic Site No. 1 by the South Korean government.

Though I never contribute one of my own (perhaps I ought to?), I always enjoy seeing the many stone pagodas left by visitors to these temples.

A secret hideaway we found.

Our final destination was located a few miles from Bulguksa: a grotto called Seokguram, which required a short walk along a path high up in the mountains.
There were some pretty views of the nearby scenery.

The grotto itself was being refurbished.
We weren't allowed to take photos, but here's a picture I found on Korea's official tourism website, showing the Buddha that we saw inside.
We had to wait around an hour for the final bus to take us back to Gyeongju.
Fortunately there were some pretty - if rather hazy - views over the hills below.
The next day we took the KTX back to Seoul in the early afternoon.

I have to say, Gyeongju was probably one of my all-time favourite cities that we've visited in Korea. It has a tranquil, small-town feel and the ancient tombs and temples that are dotted around its centre really do make it feel like a living, open-air museum. I'd consider it an essential must-see sight for any visitors to Korea, even those only staying for a short time.

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