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Gyeongju is a popular coastal city attracting about 9 million visitors annually. A major cultural and historical destination, Gyeongju was once the capital of the ancient Silla kingdom. Vistors can experience Buddhist artefacts and national treasures. While tourism is the major driving force, Gyeongju is becoming a manufacturing hub also, and is home to roughly 250,000 people.
The Bulguksa Temple encapsulates the Buddhist culture and the rich history of the city. Named a world heritage site by UNESCO, the temple was built in 528 during the Silla Dynasty. Home to many national treasures and artefacts, the temple consists of many bridge-like stairways that represent Buddha and man’s journey through life. Tour the temple alone or as part of a tour of the city’s ancient sites.
Another world heritage site, Seokguram Grotto is an artificial stone temple on Mount Tohmasan and regarded as the ‘representative stone temple of Korea’. Built in the 8th century, the temple contains a statue of Buddha looking out into the sea. The inside of the grotto is not available for the public to view so make a trip to the Silla Arts and Science Museum where you can fully explore the historical site through different pictures and descriptions.
Yangdong Folk Village
A historic village from the Joseon Dynasty, a Korean state lasting for about 5 centuries, Yangdong is also a world heritage site full of Korean national treasures. Located amongst the beautiful natural surroundings, the whole village is a heritage site. Surrounded by the beautiful Mount Seolchangsan are 160 old houses and cottages, preserved in their original state. Photo from http://www.visitkorea.or.kr