Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gettin' me some edumacation

Either Friday night or Saturday morning, I and two other 'bu crewers are going to Gyeongju, down in southeast Korea. It's about time I did something educational and cultural (as opposed to just eating and drinking and being a lazy bum jjimjilbonging).

As an aside, it blows my mind to look at a map and realize "Holy crap, that's on the other side of the country!" Observe:

And even so, it only takes about five hours to get there by bus. It took me six hours to drive up to Maine last summer. Perspective.

Gyeongju is home to a lot of historical stuff, especially Shilla-era buildings and artifacts, including a few UNESCO world heritage sites:

Gyeongju Historic Areas, a collection of temples, palaces, ruins, tombs, and other outdoorsy stuff. "Historic Areas" seems like an awkward turn of phrase and I imagine the original Korean name for it/them is much less awkward in the context of the language.

Bulguksa, the head temple of the Jogye order in Korea. It's pretty sprawling and houses various "National Treasures," some of which are listed below.

Seokguram, an hermitage and part of Bulguksa, carved out of goddamn granite. It's also one of the National Treasures (National Treasure #24, to be specific) attached to/contained in the Bulguksa complex. Others include:

20. Dabotap (Many Treasure Pagoda)
21. Seokgatap (Sakyamuni Pagoda) (three-storied pagoda)
22. Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo bridges
23. Cheongungyo and Baegungyo bridges


26. Seated gilt-bronze Vairocana Buddha statue
27. Seated gilt-bronze Amitabha Buddha statue

Outside of Bulguksa, there are National Treasures all over the place. They're like horse manure (in that they're everywhere, not in that they're shitty or smell terrible).

25. Monument of King Taejong Muyeol of Silla


28. Standing gilt-bronze Bhaisajyaguru Buddha statue from Baengnyulsa Temple,
29. Bell of King Seongdeok. Sacred bell of King Seongdeok the Great, Gyeongju National Museum
30. Stone pagoda of Bunhwangsa temple
31. Cheomseongdae


37. Three storied stone pagoda in Guhwang-dong
38. Three storied stone pagoda of Goseonsa temple site
39. Five storied stone pagoda in Nawon-ri, Wolseong
40. Thirteen storied stone pagoda of Jeonghyesa temple site


87. Gold crown from the Geumgwanchong tomb, Gyeongju National Museum
88. Girdle and pendants from Geumgwanchong tomb, Gyeongju National Museum


and so on. You get the picture: lots of really old, really Korean stuff.

And of course, what's an historical city of Korea without historical booze? I intend to at least try some Beopju, maybe even buy some to take back home (home being America, not just Minlak-dong).

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