Monthly Archives: June 2011

Gyeongju history Korean culture links Sites to see tips for tourists Top 10 videos

Top 10 YouTube Videos on Gyeongju and the Shilla Dynasty

It’s been a while since I’ve done any “Top 10″ and since I’ve been busy with final exams and grades, I don’t have any proper articles ready to go this week.  Instead, I figured I’d post on the 10 best YouTube videos I could find about Gyeongju. Believe me, it was a lot harder than it sounds. For all the time I spent fast forwarding through dozens vacation slideshows of Bulguksa and boring A.P. History projects, I might as well have written an article. In any case, I did in fact find 10 YouTube videos that are well worth watching (in spite of their occasional flaws). So, in no particular order, first up is the official UNESCO World Heritage promotional video on Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto. It’s pretty:

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Gyeongju hiking history Sites to see Stories, legends & people Temples & shrines tips for tourists

Choi Jae-u (최제우), Yongdamjeong Pavilion (용담정) and the Donghak Peasants Revolution (동학농민운동)

Yeongdamjeong Pavilion, Gyeongju

Yeongdamjeong Pavilion, Gyeongju

The 19th century was a dark time for Korea (and sadly just a prelude to the horrors to come in the 20th century to come).  Korea was still a feudal agrarian society and the nobility of the Joseon Dynasty had become bloated and corrupt, exacting heavy taxes and conscripting forced labor from the peasantry.  Foreign governments with imperialist ambitions were constantly vying for power on the Korean peninsula.  And to make matters worse, the country was plagued by droughts, natural disasters and famines which lead to widespread suffering and civil unrest among the peasantry.  Considering the average farmer was lucky to live to 30, it’s not surprising this malcontent boiled over into full scale uprisings against the landlords and the rich on more than one occasion. read more »

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Gyeongju hiking Sites to see Statues & carvings Temples & shrines tips for tourists

Off the Beaten Path: The Standing Buddha (마애불얍성) of Mt. Maseoksan (마석산)

Standing Buddha of Mt. Maseoksan, Gyeongju

Standing Buddha of Mt. Maseoksan, Gyeongju

Hidden away above a small farming valley just south of Mt. Namsan, the Standing Buddha (마애불얍성) of Mt. Maseoksan  (마석산) is the epitome of “off the beaten path.”  In fact, for a long time the only reference to it I could find was a mark at the bottom of the regional map published by the Shilla Cultural Society.  I found absolutely nothing about it in any English guidebooks or online and very little when I ran searches for it in Korean. So, of course, for a guy like me that’s all the more reason to check it out and see what’s there.  Happily, I discovered one of those numerous hidden gems that are scattered around Gyeongju. read more »

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Andong Korean culture videos

Video: Traditional Fireworks at the Andong Mask Dance Festival

This is probably a bit random, but it’s been ages since I’ve posted any videos here.  On the evening of the opening and closing Saturday of the Andong Mask Dance Festival, Hahoe Folk Village hosts a traditional firework performance.  They string ropes from the village, across the river, to the top of the cliff.  The ropes are covered with some sort of sap or dried pine needles and set on fire.  Various performers read poetry and sing songs while sparks are raining down and floating candles drift past on the river.  Meanwhile, actors dressed in traditional garb begin performing a play on a barge in the middle of the river, their shadows cast on the cliff face with a spot light.   Finally, at several points throughout the evening, the audience cheers and flaming hay bales are thrown from the top of the cliff into the river.  The effect of the whole experience is pretty magical.  Unfortunately this last year, the event was dampened a bit by rain and my video camera’s not the greatest.  Even so, I hope this video gives you a taste of how cool the Hahoe Traditional Fireworks actually are.  It’s a little bit of a hassle to get out to Hahoe village, but check ‘em out if you can next Fall when the Mask Dance Festival comes around again.

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