Gyeongju,
Capital City of Silla Kingdom
“... Silla is located to the extreme end of China and as a white race, Silla people are descendants of Noah’s son Japhet and Japhet’s son Amur...Silla is a country abounding in gold. Muslims who advanced there, captivated by its congenial surroundings, tend to settle there for good and do not think of leaving the place.”
- KIbn Khurdadhbih, Kitāb al-Masālik w’al- Mamālik
(The Book of Roads and Kingdoms), 845 AD -
  • Mucheomdang House in Yangdong Mucheomdang House in Yangdong

    Koreans consider Gyeongju to be the ancestry of their history and culture. As the capital of the Korea’s first unified kingdom (the Silla Kingdom), Gyeongju had been the capital of a single dynasty for 992 years, one of the world’s oldest sustained dynasties. Also, Gyeongju has achieved great cultural development through exchanges with other civilizations throughout its long history.

    There has been human settlement at and around the site of the present-day Gyeongju since the prehistoric period. Silla came to rule the southeastern part of the Korean peninsula in 57 BCE and chose Gyeongju as their capital. There followed a long period of struggle among the rival kingdoms. The Silla Kingdom defeated its rivals in the 7th century and established its rule over most of the Korean peninsula; this remained unchallenged until the beginning of the 10th century. The Silla rulers embellished their city with many public buildings, palaces, temples and fortresses. Their tombs are found throughout the ancient city.

    Mahayana Buddhism spread from China to Korea during the course of the 7th century and was adopted by the Silla Kingdom. The unique spatial feature of Gyeongju, the capital of the Silla Kingdom for a thousand years, is that the modern urban area overlaps the historic street frames of the ancient capital. By adopting and innovating the Bang-rl system from China, the city has a systematic and refined urban planning where artificiality and nature lives in harmony.

  • Rock-carved Buddha in Mt. Namsan Rock-carved Buddha in Mt. Namsan

    The branching fortress walls in the mountains surrounding the city, along with the enormous stone tombs located in the heart of the city, create an urban landscape unique to the capital of Silla. Gyeongju was a city where glorious Silla culture thrived, undergoing numerous renovations to become a well-planned city that befitted the prosperous and magnificent days of Silla.

    Long before the advent of modern transportation such as cars and trains, Gyeongju had long exchanged their abundant cultures over sea and land routes such as the Silk Road. Written references are few and far between, but there are sufficient documentation to demonstrate the existence of significant commercial and cultural ties with other nations. In addition, exotic objects made in Central Asia and further west to the Mediterranean have been found in several Silla tombs, a testimony to the vibrant international exchanges of the time.

    One example is the discovery of Roman and Persian glass cups in the ancient tombs of Gyeongju. In addition to specimens of conventionally cut glass, the bottle unearthed from Tomb 98 shows the typical manufacturing technique of Sassanid Persia. Assuming that the tomb was constructed in the fifth or sixth century, it can be safely concluded that Persian merchandise had already found its way into Korea and were widespread.

    Other items uncovered during the excavation include a silver bowl engraved with an image of the Persian goddess Anahita; a golden dagger from Persia; clay busts; and figurines portraying Middle Eastern merchants. Samguk Sagi (the official chronicle of the Three Kingdoms Period that was compiled and completed in 1145) contains further descriptions of commercial items sold by Middle Eastern merchants and their prevalence in Silla society.

  • Rock-carved Buddha in Mt. Namsan Donggung Palace and Wolji Pond
    Gorgeous botanical garden that lies hidden within the Silla Royal Palace
    Rock-carved Buddha in Mt. Namsan Glass Vessels from the 5th Century
    (National Treasure 193)
Gyeongju,
World Heritage City
Gyeongju is the proud home of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Seokguram Grotto and the Bulguksa Temple, the Gyeongju Historic Areas, and the Korean Traditional Village of Yangdong. It has been one of the primary missions of Gyeongju to protect the outstanding universal values of these sites and to hand over the exceptional values in a sustainable way to the next generation.
Seokguram Grotto
and Bulguksa Temple
Gyeongju Historic Areas
Korean Traditional
Village of Yangdong
  • Brief Synthesis

    Established in the 8th century under the Silla Dynasty, on the slopes of Mount Tohamsan, Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple form a religious architectural complex of exceptional significance.

    Prime Minister Dae-seong KIM initiated and supervised the construction of the temple and the grotto, the former built in memory of his parents in his present life and the latter in memory of his parents from a previous life.

    Seokguram is an artificial grotto constructed of granite that comprises an antechamber, a corridor and a main rotunda. It enshrines a monumental statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha looking out to sea with his left hand in dhyana mudra, the mudra of concentration, and his right hand in bhumisparsa mudra, the earth-touching mudra position. Together with the portrayals of devas, bodhisattvas and disciples, sculpted in high and low relief on the surrounding walls, the statues are considered to be a masterpiece of East Asian Buddhist art.

    The domed ceiling of the rotunda and the entrance corridor employed an innovative construction technique that involved the use of more than 360 stone slabs.

    Seokguram Grotto
    Seokguram GrottoGrotto that captures the perfect Buddhist view of the world
  • Outstanding Universal Value
    Seokguram Grotto
    Bulguksa TempleThe essence of Silla’s Buddhist architecture

    Bulguksa is a Buddhist temple complex that comprises a series of wooden buildings on raised stone terraces.

    The grounds of Bulguksa are divided into three areas – Birojeon (the Vairocana Buddha Hall), Daeungjeon (the Hall of Great Enlightenment) and Geungnakjeon (the Hall of Supreme Bliss).

    These areas and the stone terraces were designed to represent the land of Buddha. The stone terraces, bridges and the two pagodas – Seokgatap (Pagoda of Sakyamuni) and Dabotap (Pagoda of Bountiful Treasures) – facing the Daeungjeon attest to the fine masonry work of the Silla.

  • Brief Synthesis

    The Gyeongju Historic Areas contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the flowering culture of Silla dynasty, in particular between the 7th and 10th century.

    The Korean peninsula was ruled for almost 1,000 years (57 BCE – 935 CE) by the Silla dynasty, and the sites and monuments in and around Gyeongju bear outstanding testimony to its cultural achievements. These monuments are of exceptional significance in the development of Buddhist and secular architecture in Korea.

    Seokguram Grotto
    Hwangnyongsa Temple SiteTemple site that holds the dream of unifying the Three Kingdoms
  • Outstanding Universal Value

    The property comprises five distinct areas situated in the center of Gyeongju and in its suburbs.

    The Mount Namsan Belt lies to the north of the city and covers 2,650 ha. The Buddhist monuments that have been excavated at the time of inscription include the ruins of 122 temples, 53 stone statues, 64 pagodas and 16 stone lanterns. Excavations have also revealed the remains of the pre-Buddhist natural and animistic cults of the region. 36 individual monuments, including rock-cut reliefs or engravings, stone images and heads, pagodas, royal tombs and tomb groups, wells, a group of stone banner poles, the Namsan Mountain Fortress, the Poseokjeong Pavilion site and the Seochulji Pond, exist within this area.

    The Wolseong Belt includes the ruined palace site of Wolseong, the Gyerim woodland which legend identifies as the birthplace of the founder of the Gyeongju Kim clan, Wolji Pond, on the site of the ruined Imhaejeon Palace, and the Cheomseongdae Observatory.

    The Tumuli Park Belt consists of three groups of Royal Tombs. Most of the mounds are domed, but some take the form of a half-moon or a gourd. They contain double wood coffins covered with gravel, and excavations have revealed rich grave goods of gold, glass, and fine ceramics. One of the earlier tombs yielded a mural painting of a winged horse on birch bark.

    Hwangnyongsa Belt consists of two Buddhist temples, Bunhwangsa Temple and the ruins of Hwangnyongsa Temple. Hwangnyongsa, built to the order of King Jinheung (540 – 576 CE) was the largest temple ever built in Korea, covering some 72,500 m2. An 80 meters high, nine-storey pagoda was added in 645 CE. The pagoda in Bunhwangsa was built in 634 CE, using dressed block stones.

    The Sanseong Fortress Belt consists of defensive facilities along the east coast and at other strategic points and includes the Myeonghwal Mountain Fortress.

  • Brief Synthesis

    Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Yangdong is seen as one of the most historic clan villages in the Republic of Korea. Its layout and location - sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The village was located to provide both physical and spiritual nourishment from its surrounding landscape. It includes residences of the head families, together with substantial timber framed houses of other clan members, also pavilions, study halls, Confucian academies for learning, and clusters of one story mud-walled, thatched-roofed houses, formerly for commoners.

    The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets.

    Seokguram Grotto
    Korean Traditional Village of Yangdong
  • Outstanding Universal Value
    Seokguram Grotto
    Hyangsa Ancestral Rites at Sunghyejeon Shrine

    The village Yangdong is located in the south-eastern region of the Korean peninsula, the heartland of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), which ruled the Korean Peninsula for more than five hundred years.

    Sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto rivers and open agricultural fields, Yangdong in its landscape setting is seen as one of the most representative historic, clan villages in Korea.

    It was founded in the 14th-15th century and subsequently expanded to their present size and composition in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

    The village was located to provide both physical and spiritual nourishment from its surrounding landscape. The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets.

    Within the village, the outstanding ensembles of buildings, their siting, planning and building traditions, are exceptional reflections of the social and cultural systems of the Joseon Dynasty, of the particularly distinctive system of clan villages that is specific to this area, and of the way these evolved over five centuries.

how to Get to Gyeongju
Overseas → Korea
International Airport ↔ Gyeongju
Gyeongju offers efficient transportation networks with convenient accessibility.
There are three international airports, and various means of transportation from each airport to Gyeongju -- such as limousine bus, high-speed train (KTX), and express bus -- are operated.
Incheon International Airport Gimhae International Airport Daegu International Airport
  • Asia’s largest hub of airports
  • Connecting 188 cities around the world
  • Phone: 1577-2600 (General Inquiry)
  • Address: 272 Gonghang-ro, Junggu, Incheon City
  • Website :
  • Distance from Airport ⇒ Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal: 388 km, 270 minutes
  • Connecting 38 cities in 12 countries
  • including major cities in Asia, China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, etc.
  • Phone: 1661-2626
  • Address: 108 Gonghang-jinip-ro, Gangseo-gu, Busan City
  • Website :
  • Distance from Airport ⇒ Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal: 82 km, 75 minutes
  • Connecting four cities in two countries
  • including major cities in Asia, China, and Thailand (as of Jan. 2015)
  • Phone: 1661-2626
  • Address: 221 Gonghan-ro Dong-gu Daegu City
  • Website :
  • Distance from Airport ⇒ HICO: 75 km, 60 minutes (Shuttle Bus Operation Needed)
Incheon International Airport
  • Asia’s largest hub of airports
  • Connecting 188 cities around the world
  • Phone: 1577-2600 (General Inquiry)
  • Address: 272 Gonghang-ro, Junggu, Incheon City
  • Website :
  • Distance from Airport ⇒ Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal: 388 km, 270 minutes
Gimhae International Airport
  • Connecting 38 cities in 12 countries
  • including major cities in Asia, China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, etc.
  • Phone: 1661-2626
  • Address: 108 Gonghang-jinip-ro, Gangseo-gu, Busan City
  • Website :
  • Distance from Airport ⇒ Gyeongju Express Bus Terminal: 82 km, 75 minutes
Daegu International Airport
  • Connecting four cities in two countries
  • including major cities in Asia, China, and Thailand (as of Jan. 2015)
  • Phone: 1661-2626
  • Address: 221 Gonghan-ro Dong-gu Daegu City
  • Website :
  • Distance from Airport ⇒ HICO: 75 km, 60 minutes (Shuttle Bus Operation Needed)
International Airport → Gyeongju
  • Overseas Participants
    • ① Take Airport Limousine Bus from Incheon International Airport
      - Exit from the Arrival Zone on the 1st floor of Incheon International Airport and take the Airport Limousine Bus leaving for all destinations in Korea.
      - The bus bound for Gyeongju leaves at Exit 10C. Tickets are available at the Ticket Office in and outside the airport.
      ※ Location of Ticket Office: Inside the building, next to Exits 4 & 9 / Outside the building, next to Exits 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, & 13 and 9C.
      Point of Departure Point of Arrival Traveling Hour Operation Hour Fare Q&A Homepage
      Point of Departure at 10C Gyeongju Bus Terminal 270 minutes 07:00, 08:50,
      13:40, 21:30
      39,200 KRW Gyeongbuk Coach Service
      053-355-1241
      Point of Departure Point of Departure at 10C
      Point of Arrival Gyeongju Bus Terminal
      Traveling Hour 270 minutes
      Operation Hour 07:00, 08:50,
      13:40, 21:30
      Fare 39,200 KRW
      Q&A Gyeongbuk Coach Service
      053-355-1241
      Homepage
    • ② Take the High-speed Train at Incheon International Airport
      1. KTX (Incheon International Airport Station ↔ Singyeongju Station)
      Point of Departure Point of Arrival Traveling Hour Operation Hour Fare Q&A Homepage
      Incheon International Airport Station
      (Transportation Center, B1)
      Incheon Airport to Singyeongju Station 3 hours 2 minutes~
      3 hours 23 minutes
      5 times per day
      Incheon Airport → Singyeongju Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      06:55 10:01 115
      09:10 12:06 121
      12:07 15:15 131
      16:30 19:31 151
      20:38 23:35 169
      (Economy seat)
      Adult 61,600 KRW
      Child 30,800 KRW
      1544-7788
      Singyeongju Station Incheon Airport 2 hours 57 minutes 2 times per day
      Incheon Airport → Singyeongju Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      14:50 17:47 138
      17:00 19:58 148
      (Economy seat)
      Adult 61,600 KRW
      Child 30,800 KRW
      1544-7788
      1. KTX (Incheon International Airport Station ↔ Singyeongju Station)
      Point of Departure Incheon International Airport Station
      (Transportation Center, B1)
      Singyeongju Station
      Point of Arrival Incheon Airport to Singyeongju Station Incheon Airport
      Traveling Hour 3 hours 2 minutes~
      3 hours 23 minutes
      2 hours 57 minutes
      Operation Hour 5 times per day
      Incheon Airport → Singyeongju Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      06:55 10:01 115
      09:10 12:06 121
      12:07 15:15 131
      16:30 19:31 151
      20:38 23:35 169
      2 times per day
      Incheon Airport → Singyeongju Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      14:50 17:47 138
      17:00 19:58 148
      Fare (Economy seat)
      Adult 61,600 KRW
      Child 30,800 KRW
      (Economy seat)
      Adult 61,600 KRW
      Child 30,800 KRW
      Q&A 1544-7788 1544-7788
      Homepage
      2. Airport Express AREX (Incheon International Airport Station → Seoul Station) + KTX (Seoul Station ↔ Singyeongju Station)
      - Airport Express: Incheon International Airport Station ↔ Seoul Station
      Point of Departure Point of Arrival Traveling Hour Operation Hour Fare Q&A Homepage
      Incheon International Airport Station
      Express Train Platform
      (Transportation Center, B1)
      Incheon Airport to Seoul Station 43 minutes 29 times per day
      Every 40 minutesFirst Train 5:20AM
      Last Train 9:50PM
      8,000 KRW 1599-7788
      Seoul Station Incheon International Airport 43 minutes 29 times per day
      First Train 06:00
      Last Train 22:20
      8,000 KRW 1599-7788
      2. Airport Express AREX (Incheon International Airport Station → Seoul Station) + KTX (Seoul Station ↔ Singyeongju Station)
      - Airport Express: Incheon International Airport Station ↔ Seoul Station
      Point of Departure Incheon International Airport Station
      Express Train Platform
      (Transportation Center, B1)
      Seoul Station
      Point of Arrival Incheon Airport to Seoul Station Incheon International Airport
      Traveling Hour 43 minutes 43 minutes
      Operation Hour 29 times per day
      Every 40 minutesFirst Train 5:20AM
      Last Train 9:50PM
      29 times per day
      First Train 06:00
      Last Train 22:20
      Fare 8,000 KRW 8,000 KRW
      Q&A 1544-7788 1544-7788
      Homepage
      ※ In Airport Express AREX, there are two types of trains: Commuter Train and Express Train. Commuter trains stop at every station with the Express Train running non-stop from Seoul Station to Incheon International Airport Station. The schedule above is for Express Bus.
      - KTX: Seoul Station ↔ Singyeongju Station
      Point of Departure Point of Arrival Traveling Hour Operation Hour Fare Q&A Homepage
      Seoul Station Singyeongju Station 130 minutes 15 times per day
      Seoul Station → Singyeongju Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      05:15 07:15 101
      05:30 07:41 103
      06:35 8:40 107
      08:00 10:01 115
      10:00 12:06 121
      11:00 13:06 125
      12:00 14:06 127
      13:00 15:15 131
      13:30 15:05 135
      14:30 16:31 139
      16:00 18:05 145
      17:25 19:31 151
      18:30 20:37 157
      18:55 21:45 237
      21:30 23:35 169
      48,300KRW 1544-7788
      Singyeongju Station Seoul Station 130 minutes 16 times per day
      Singyeongju Station → Seoul Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      05:50 7:57 104
      06:46 9:03 108
      08:06 10:10 112
      09:15 11:22 116
      10:51 12:57 126
      13:05 15:11 132
      14:50 16:54 138
      16:50 19:02 146
      17:00 19:07 148
      17:56 20:02 152
      18:22 21:09 236
      19:05 21:17 156
      19:50 21:57 160
      21:16 23:20 164
      22:06 0:09 168
      22:55 1:00 174
      48,300KRW 1544-7788
      - KTX: Seoul Station ↔ Singyeongju Station
      Point of Departure Seoul Station Singyeongju Station
      Point of Arrival Singyeongju Station Seoul Station
      Traveling Hour 130 minutes 130 minutes
      Operation Hour 15 times per day
      Seoul Station → Singyeongju Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      05:15 07:15 101
      05:30 07:41 103
      06:35 8:40 107
      08:00 10:01 115
      10:00 12:06 121
      11:00 13:06 125
      12:00 14:06 127
      13:00 15:15 131
      13:30 15:05 135
      14:30 16:31 139
      16:00 18:05 145
      17:25 19:31 151
      18:30 20:37 157
      18:55 21:45 237
      21:30 23:35 169
      16 times per day
      Singyeongju Station → Seoul Station
      Departure time Arrival time Train number
      05:50 7:57 104
      06:46 9:03 108
      08:06 10:10 112
      09:15 11:22 116
      10:51 12:57 126
      13:05 15:11 132
      14:50 16:54 138
      16:50 19:02 146
      17:00 19:07 148
      17:56 20:02 152
      18:22 21:09 236
      19:05 21:17 156
      19:50 21:57 160
      21:16 23:20 164
      22:06 0:09 168
      22:55 1:00 174
      Fare 48,300KRW 48,300KRW
      Q&A 1544-7788 1544-7788
      Homepage