Last summer I went to visit Jeju Island, South Korea. I had a lay over in Gyeongju city so I took some time and explore the city. I went to a temple called Bulguksa, which is is located on the slopes of mount Toham (Jinheon-dong, Gyeongju city, North Gyeongsang province, South Korea). It is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism and encompasses seven National treasures of South Korea, including Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas, Cheongun-gyo (Blue Cloud Bridge), and two gilt-bronze statues of Buddha. The temple is classified as Historic and Scenic Site No. 1 by the South Korean government. In 1995, Bulguksa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Seokguram Grotto, which lies four kilometers to the east. The temple is considered as a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla Kingdom. It is currently the head temple of the 11th district of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism.
The construction of the temple was begun by Prim Minister Gim Dae-seong in 751, the 10th year of King Gyeongdeok, and completed in 774, the 10th year of King Hyegong. The temple served as a center of Silla Buddhism and of prayer for the protection of the country from foreign invation. The entire temple was burnt down by Japanese invaders in 1593, the 26th year of Joseon King Seonjo, because the temples was used as a base of the volunteer militia.
Though the main hall and a few other principal buildings were rebuilt, it was not until 1969-72 that it was completely restored after thorough research, investigation and excavations of the ancient temple site.
Important cultural properties from the Unified Silla period located on the premises include the two stone pagodas, Seokgatap and Dabotap pagodas, Yeonhwagyo and Cheongungyo bridges, Anyangmum gate, the seated gilt bronze Amitabha statue enshrined in the Geuknakjeon hall, and the seated gilt bronze Vairocana statue in the Birojeon. All these works and other Buddhist relics attest to the flowering of Buddhist art and culture of Silla. In 1995, along with Seokguram grotto, the temple was designated as the world cultural heritage by the UNESCO.
Hi Jetsetters, welcome to my blogisphere. I am Esther, your guide for today! I hope you will enjoy this tour of my visual travel diary.
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