Monthly Archives: April 2010

Buddhist culture Gyeongju history Statues & carvings tips for tourists Top 10

Top 10 Ancient Stone Buddhas (석불) of Gyeongju: Part 1 of 2

Maitreya Buddha of Samneung Valley, Gyeongju

Maitreya Buddha of Samneung Valley, Gyeongju

One of the cool things about Gyeongu is that it’s literally covered with ancient stone Buddhas from the Unified Shilla Dynasty (통일 신라), most dating back to around the 7th or 8th centuries C.E.  Very little is generally known about the sculptors who chiseled out these masterpieces way back when, though they were probably carved as a form of Buddhist meditation practice.  Heck, every mountain around here has at least one ancient Buddha on it and Mt. Namsan (남산) has at least a few dozen.

If you’re a history junky like me, or you’re just looking to do some hiking or sight-seeing, here are my personal top 10 ancient stone Buddhas of Gyeongju.  As this post has snowballed into something bigger than I’d planned, so I’m splitting it into 2 parts. Here are 10 through 6 on my list.  I’ll be posting my top 5 here in a day or two.

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Dongguk Lantern Lighting Ceremony: Thursday, April 29th

Dongguk University Lantern Parade 2009

Dongguk University Lantern Parade 2009

We’re almost to the end of April which means we’re just a month away from my favorite Korean Holiday: Buddha’s Birthday, or Seokgatanssinil (석가탄신일). This year Buddha’s Birthday falls on Friday, May 21st and all of the temples around town are getting ready to hang their lanterns.  As a Buddhist school, Dongguk University is preparing for its annual lantern-lighting ceremony this Thursday evening, April 29th.  It’s open to the public, so if you’re local or passing through town this Thursday, you should definitely come down and check it out.  I went last year and it was pretty cool.  read more »

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Festivals Food & drink Gyeongju Hwangseong-dong Korean culture photography tips for tourists

More Gyeongju 2010 Liquor & Ddeok Festival (경주술과떡잔치)

 

2010 Liquor and Ddeok Festival, Gyeongju

2010 Liquor and Ddeok Festival, Gyeongju

It’s Thursday morning which means that we’re down to the final day of the Gyeongju Liquor & Ddeok Festival (경주술과떡잔치) in Hwangseong Park. Unfortunately I missed the Festival’s kickoff Saturday, though I hear it was packed with people and the weather was gorgeous.  By the time I got down there on Monday, this week-long bout of dreary weather had already set in.  read more »

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Festivals Gyeongju photography tips for tourists

More Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms (벚꽃)

Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms

Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms

Okay, so it looks like my predictions about the cherry blossoms being over this weekend were (thankfully) bogus. The cherries have survived our nasty bout of snow and cold Wednesday night and it looks like they’re still going strong. Barring any freak windstorms or rogue typhoons, the cherry flowers should still be in full bloom this weekend for the start of the Soju and Ddeok Festival. I’ll have more on the festival posted up here soon. Until then I thought I’d experiment with the WordPress photo album option. Just for the heck of it, here are some close-ups of the cherry blossoms I shot with my 300mm zoom/macro lens. Enjoy. read more »

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Gyeongju Cherry Blossoms (벚꽃) Spring 2010

Cherry Blossoms Spring 2010, Gyeongju

Cherry Blossoms Spring 2010, Gyeongju

Over the last week or so the cherry blossoms (벚꽃) here in Gyeongju have just exploded.  Hopefully,you got out to see them last weekend as we’ve been in for a bit of nasty weather lately.  The temperature’s really dropped and we even had some snow mixed in with the rain tonight, which is not going to fair well for the cherry flowers.  But if you’ve not seen them already, don’t give up just yet.  They’ll probably hang on for a few more days, though I have my doubts how many will still be around for the Soju and Ddeok Festival this weekendread more »

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Daeboreum (대보름) Pt. 2: Ganggang Sullae (강강술래) Folk Dancing

Back at the start of March I posted on this year’s Daeboreum (대보름), or Great Full Moon Bon Fire Festival, in Gyeongju.  As promised, I finally got around to editing the video and I’ve whittled it down to about 2 minutes.  Most of the video is of the Ganggang Sullae (강강술래) folk dancing around the bonfire, which was declared S. Korea’s Important Intangible Cultural Properties No. 8 back in 1965. read more »

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Links: San-shin.org

Korean Mountain God with 8 Daoist Immortals (from san-shin.org)

Korean Mountain God with 8 Daoist Immortals (from san-shin.org)

Like a lot of posts on this blog, I’d meant to get something up on San-shin.org ages ago.  If you’re at all interested in traditional Korean culture, this site’s an awesome resource.  It’s a treasure trove of info on everything from Korean Shamanism and Buddhist culture to folk art, feng shui, hiking and green tea. read more »

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Festivals Food & drink Gyeongju Hwangseong-dong tips for tourists

Gyeongju’s 2010 Soju (소주) & Ddeok (떡) Festival

Soju and Ddeok Festival, Gyeongju

Soju and Ddeok Festival, Gyeongju

As I’ve been trying to get the word out about events before they actually happen, I’m pleased as puddin’ to announce that it’s that time of year again for the Gyeongju Soju (소 주) & Ddeok (떡) , or Liquor and Rice Cake Festival. As always, the festival’s in Hwanseong Park. The official word is that it kicks off Saturday, April 17th and winds down Thursday the 22nd. I’ll be posting the actual daily events schedule as I get it. read more »

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Downtown Gyeongju restaurants tips for tourists

Restaurant Review #10: Pranzo (프란조) Italian Restaurant

Pranzo Italian Restaurant, Gyeongju

Pranzo Italian Restaurant, Gyeongju

One of my few complaints about Gyeongju is that there just aren’t many foreign restaurants here. Sure, Gyeongju has all your usual greasy fast food joints, but you’ve got to go all the way to Daegu to find a TGI Fridays or Outback Steak House. And if you’re itching for Thai or Mexican, just forget it. Luckily we do have a couple of descent Italian joints in town, and the cream (if you’ll pardon the pun) of the crop is Pranzo (프란조). read more »

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Buddhist culture Festivals Food & drink Gyeongju hiking restaurants Ruins & remains Statues & carvings Temples & shrines tips for tourists Top 10

My Gyeongju Top 10

I know it’s all the trend these days, but I figured it was about time I sat down and wrote out my personal top ten “to do” list for Gyeongju.  Some of these I’ve posted on already, and if I haven’t yet, I hope to soon. So here they are in brief; counting down from 10 to 1:

Bunghwangsa Temple, Gyeongju

Bunghwangsa Temple, Gyeongju

10. Take a walk around the ancient, 3-storied pagoda of Bunghwangsa (분황사) Temple when the fall leaves are changing. read more »

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