Category Archives: photography

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Photos: Fall “Maple Tripping” (단풍 구경) in the Yeongnam Alps (영남알프스)

Tongdosa Temple in the Fall

Tongdosa Temple in the Fall

The fall leaves are already a big deal in Korea and I don’t know if it’s due to global warming or radioactive rain from Japan, but the autumn colors have been especially vibrant this year. Gyeongju is a pretty popular destination for hikers and weekend visitors out on their yearly “Maple Trip” (단풍 구경) and I’ve already posted on a few good spots to check out the fall leaves around Gyeongju. However, this year I’ve been exploring the area south-west of town known as the Yeongnam-Alps a bit more, as it’s only about a 30 minutes drive out of town. I’ve taken the family here twice for a “Maple Trip” (단풍 구경) over the last few weeks, so I thought I share a some of my photos here on the blog. read more »

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Downtown East Sea Geumcheok-ri Gyeongju history Hwangnam-dong Korean culture photography Ruins & remains Stories, legends & people tombs

“From Fusan to Wonsan by Pack-pony” by Rev. H. O. T. Burkwall: A Turn of the Century Missionary’s Travelogue of Gyeongju

Old Photo of Silla-era Royal Tombs, Gyeongju

Old Photo of Silla-era Royal Tombs, Gyeongju

In the course of my Masters research, I’ve sometimes run across interesting tidbits of Gyeognju history that are completely off-topic which I file away for future blog posts.  Here is one such tidbit: a brief  travelogue written by perhaps one of the earliest westerners to visit Gyeongju; the awesomely-named missionary Rev. H. O. T. Burkwall.  Rev. Burkwall’s account was printed in the January 1903 edition of the “Korea Review” (pp. 18 – 22).  The “Korea Review” appears to be one of the earliest English-language academic journals devoted to Korean culture, history, religion and literature and was published between 1901 and 1905 by the Methodist Publishing House in Seoul.  For those interested, .pdf files of the whole 5 year run of the “Korea Review” are currently hosted online by Royal Asiatic Society of Korea. read more »

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Buddhist culture Events Festivals Gyeongju hiking history holidays photography Statues & carvings Temples & shrines tips for tourists

Buddha’s Birthday at Sinseonsa (신선사) Temple on Mt. Danseoksan (단석산)

Miruk Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple, Mt. Danseoksan, Gyeongju

Miruk Grotto at Sinseonsa Temple, Mt. Danseoksan, Gyeongju

Like many things in Gyeongju, I’ve been meaning to write about Mt. Danseoksan for a while, but I’ve been too busy to get around to it.  However, celebrating Buddha’s Birthday, or Seokga Tansinil (석가탄신일), yesterday at the ancient stone grotto of Mirukgul (미룩굴) on Mt. Danseokan has given me the best reason I’m probably going to get.  Located about 10 km south-west of Gyeongju City, Mt. Danseoksan is officially part of Gyeongju National Park and is famous for its history, legends and natural beauty.  Literally meaning “Split Rock Mountain,” Mt. Danseoksan is, in fact, named after one such ancient story involving the famed Silla general Kim Yu-sin. read more »

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Downtown Gyeongju photography

Downtown Gyeongju: Photo Slideshow Part 2

Downtown Gyeongju

Downtown Gyeongju

Oddly, my slideshow last month of photos exploring the grungier, funkier side of Gyeongju’s downtown has turned out to be one of the more popular posts here on Gyeongjublog (which might not be saying much, really). I’m going to keep the write up here brief, as I pretty much said all I had to say about Gyeonju’s downtown as whole in part 1.  Not to mention, I’ve been busy grinding out papers for my Masters courses these last few weeks, so I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. I hope this keeps things from getting too stale until I find a bit more free time.  As promised, here’s part two of the slide show, and if you missed part 1, you can check it out here.  Same as before, you can scroll down through the page to view the slideshow or click on the photo above to start flipping through. Hope you enjoy the photos!

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Downtown Gyeongju history photography tips for tourists

Downtown Gyeongju: Photo Slideshow Part 1

Downtown Gyeongju

Downtown Gyeongju

This post probably won’t win me any awards from the Korean Tourism Organization, but once upon a time I was a Fine Arts student.  So after the last few weeks of beautifully blossoming cherry trees, please forgive me if I’m in the mood to post something a bit more urban and gritty.  Here’s the first part of a slideshow of I’ve put together of Gyeongju, so you can scroll down or click on the photos for the slideshow viewer.  I wanted to break in my new Nikon D5100 last month and went for a stroll downtown, so most of the photos here are from that shoot.  Also I’ve thrown in a few older pictures that, for some reason or another, haven’t made it up on the blog yet. read more »

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Chunghyo-dong Events Festivals photography tips for tourists

Photos: Cherry Blossom (벚꽃) Tunnel 2012

Cherry Blossom Tunnel, Gyeongju 2012

Cherry Blossom Tunnel, Gyeongju 2012

It seems the long awaited blooming of the cherry blossoms (벚꽃) is starting to reach its peak.  Of course, this means next weekend Gyeongju and Bomun Resort will be flooded with tourists, so I’d suggest staying off the roads around here, if at all possible.  However, one stretch of road worth braving the traffic jams for is the lane leading up to General Kim Yu-shin’s tomb.    I’ve heard locals refer to this road as the “cherry blossom tunnel,” for reasons that I hope are obvious.  Thankfully a few years back the city managed to widen this road, which takes pressure off the traffic and leaves a lot more room for a street vendors and strolling tourists. (It was kind of hard to enjoy the cherry blossoms while worrying about losing a limb to passing cars at the same time.)  I had some spare time between classes this afternoon and decided to check out the scene before it got too crazy with the weekend tourists.  Of course, I had my new Nikon DSLR along to play with, so here are some of the better photos I shot.  The weather was perfect, but for the wind, and there were still enough folks around to give the place quite a festive atmosphere.  The cross-dressing, trote-singing clown from Incheon helped to spice up the atmosphere a bit too (pictures not included.)  Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the photos and if you’re looking for suggestions on other places around town to frolic amongst the cherry flowers, I’ve posted tips previously both here and here.

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Events Festivals Gyeongju history holidays photography Shamanism Temples & shrines

Photos: A Dangsan Tree (당나무) on Daeboreum (대보름)

Dangsan Tree on Daeboreum Holiday in Gyeongju

Dangsan Tree on Daeboreum Holiday in Gyeongju

If you’ve checked your calendar recently, you might have noticed that last Monday night was a full moon.  In fact, it was the first full moon after Seollal (설날), or Lunar New Years , here in Korea, which marks it as the holiday of Daeboreum (대보름).   Daeboreum has been traditionally celebrated with a massive bonfire , music, and dancing, making it one of my favorite Korean holidays.  In fact, I’ve already posted twice on Daeboreum, with both photos and video of the Gyeongju’s Daeboruem bonfire a few years back, so I won’t say too much here about the holiday itself. read more »

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Arts & crafts Buddhist culture Gyeongju hiking Korean culture Namsan-dong photography restaurants Ruins & remains shopping Statues & carvings Temples & shrines tips for tourists

Slideshow: Autumn in Namsan-dong (남산동) Village

Muryangsa Temple, Namsan-dong, Gyeognju

Muryangsa Temple, Namsan-dong, Gyeognju

To be honest the Korean urban lifestyle doesn’t really do much for me.  Sure, I sometimes miss the art and culture, the night clubs and the convenience.  But after living in London, Berlin and Barcelona, there’s really not anything new that I get out of big cities in Korea.  All it takes is a walk through one of the many quaint and quiet farm villages near Gyeongju to remind me why I like living with the Korean countryside so close at hand.   One of my favorite places to visit is Namsan-dong (남산동);  a string of farming villages just 15 minutes outside of town tucked in the shadow of Gyeongju’s historic Mt. Namsan (남산). read more »

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Buddhist culture Chunghyo-dong Events Festivals holidays photography Temples & shrines

Buddha’s Birthday (석가탄신일) at Yeongheungsa Temple (영흥사), May 2010

Buddha's Birthday at Yeongheungsa Temple, Gyeongju

Buddha's Birthday at Yeongheungsa Temple, Gyeongju

In case you missed it the last few dozen times I’ve said it, let me just say again:  Buddha’s Birthday is my favorite holiday in Korea.  On Buddha’s Birthday, or “Seokgatanshinil” (석가탄신일) as it’s called in Korean, the Buddhist faithful hang lanterns bearing prayers and wishes all around the temples, which serve free vegetarian Bibimbap for lunch or dinner.   The larger temples often host free concerts and cultural performances in the afternoon, but what really makes Buddha’s Birthday special for me is the Lantern Parade held after sundown at historical temples like Bulguksa and Tongdosa. read more »

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Arts & crafts Events Festivals Hwangseong-dong photography shopping tips for tourists

2011 Gyeongju Ceramics Festival Photos

Gyeongju Ceramics Festival

Gyeongju Ceramics Festival

Somehow I always forget about the annual Gyeongju Shilla Ceramics Festival. It’s not that I hate Korean pottery or anything. (In fact, I’m a proud owner of several Korean tea sets). Rather, the fine folks over at Gyeongju’s City Hall always double book the Ceramics Festival along side other big events (which actually isn’t as daft as it might seem since it helps draw in the crowds). In years past it ran literally next to the Liquor and Rice Cake Festival in Hwanseong Park. This year however it’s providing a nice cultural courter point to the adrenaline fueled Taekwondo Championships next door in Hwangseong Gymnasium. There seem to be a lot more artists at the Ceramics Festival then in years past and they’ve got a few hands on activities for the youngsters, as well as other types of traditional crafts for sale. The Ceramics Festival runs through this weekend and finishes up on Sunday the May 8th, a few days longer then the WTF Championships. If your around, check it out as it’s a great opportunity for some early Christmas (or belated Mother’s Day) shopping. read more »

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