Named Korea’s Culture City of East Asia 2021, Gyeongju is more commonly known by its nickname: “the museum without walls.” The city, located at the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula, is home to an astonishing abundance of archaeological sites, thanks to a nearly thousand-year reign as capital of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla (57 B.C. to A.D. 935).
Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Gyeongju Historic Areas are a captivating collection of Buddhist art from this golden age. Among the treasures: temple and palace ruins, stone pagodas, rock carvings, a superb eighth-century statue of Buddha, and about 150 Silla nobility burial mounds, some up to 75 feet high.
Gold, silver, and gilt-bronze crowns, jewellery, and other glittering artifacts excavated from the tombs are displayed in the Gyeongju National Museum’s “Silla the Kingdom of Gold” exhibit. Virtually tour the exhibition hall for an inside look at the lavish lifestyles of Silla royalty.
—Bo-yeon Lim, Nat Geo Traveler Korea
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