Welcome to Gyeongju -- South - South Korea!!! Our first stop in this historical city (known as an "outdoor museum") was at Bulguksa. One of Korea's largest, and most-famous Buddhist temples. It was a beautiful day and was Buddha's birthday weekend so it was the perfect time to visit Bulguksa.
A long and winding walk up a steep hill gets you to the entrance of the temple. Once you enter the gate you are faced with some awe-inspiring scenery to get you into the tranquil mood that is desired.
Just be wary of the guards at the gate - they don't exactly look friendly!!
We were happy to see that the lotus lanterns were still up the day after Buddha's birthday. (they did begin to take them down later that afternoon)
Sorry for the lack of interior photos but it was prohibited. This is still a practicing temple so they didn't want any photos taken to respect the privacy of the Buddhists.
Shawna peeking inside. . . at the Golden Seated Buddha
There were millions of these little rock formations behind one of the buildings - they looked kind of like Inuksuit.
Later that afternoon we went to see the Tombs of Gyeongju. They built huge mounds around the tombs of important people. There are still many standing today in Gyeongju.
We were able to go inside one of the tombs - after a long wait in the hot sun. These tombs were home to millions of artifacts. Like the Egyptians, they buried many precious items for the deceased to take with them to the next world. Most of the original buried treasure was taken by "Tomb Raiders" and the Koreans are still working hard to collect all the items for museum displays.
Here's some kids respecting the tomb . . .
It's very likely to see couples or families dressed alike in Korea these days. Matching clothes is a really popular thing to do right now. (Shawna is trying to convince me to buy a set "couples shirts".) This is a random photo for the afternoon but we couldn't resist taking it when we saw what was written on this family's shirts. Take a close look at the black and yellow ones . . . What??
Here's a famous observatory in Gyeongju. It is called Cheomseongdae and was built in the 7th century. Its the oldest known observatory in Asia. It has 12 blocks for its base and 365 blocks composing the tower. Interesting . . .
Here's Shawna standing in the "Kim Forest" where the orginal Gyeongju Kim was found and named.
A stop for dinner - 20 bucks got us some Soju and about 50 different dishes!!
Our final destination in Gyeongju was Anapji Pond. An artificial pond constructed in the 7th century as part of the Silla Palace. It was really incredible to see it at night.
This was really the highlight of our trip to Gyeongju. I'm sure we'll be back here again before we leave South Korea.
I was mesmerized by the Bamboo forests and now I just have to go see the big ones in Jeolla Province. Maybe next long weekend!!