Gyeongju, South Korea

We awoke this morning in a new country, South Korea. We docked in Busan, cleared immigration, and got onto buses for the 90-minute drive to Gyeongju and a whirlwind tour of Korean culture. Our first stop was the Gyeongju National Museum, which is mostly devoted to relics of the Silla kingdom, which controlled southern Korea between 57 BCE and 935 CE.

Sacred Bell of Great King Seongdeok
Neolithic Clay Pottery
Korean Bronze Daggers
Sacred Duck
Silla Gold Crown (5th Century)
Gold Crown and Belt Ornaments
More Gold
Vajarpani (Guardian Deity)

We only had an hour at the museum before we had to leave for a very important appointment: lunch at the Commodore Hotel, complete with a performance of Korean music and dance.

Fan Dancers

Our next stop was the Bulguksa Temple Museum. Once more, our visit was too brief.

Decorated for Buddha’s Birthday
Amitabha, Buddha of the Western Paradise, in Geungnakjeon Hall

We finished the day by going to the Daereungwon Tomb Complex, a series of mounds covering royal tombs of the Silla kingdom’s rulers. We took a quick walk through the Heavenly Horse Tomb, which had been where the Gold Crown we saw at the museum was buried for many centuries.

All of our hurrying paid off – we beat the traffic and got back to Busan and our ship in just over an hour.

We barely scratched the surface of Gyeongju; the rest of Korea remains a mystery.