Tag Archives: Chosun Dynasty

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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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 history photography websites

Old Photos of Gyeongju on gjucc.or.kr

Old Gyeongju (image from www.gjucc.or.kr)

Old Gyeongju (image from www.gjucc.or.kr)

One thing I forgot to mention in my last post on the Gyeongju Cultural Center (경주문화원) is that the Center’s website has a great archive of old, black and white photos of Gyeongju. Unfortunately, the website’s only in Korean, which makes it a little tricky to navigate, plus they’ve disabled hard links.  So, to get to the archive, go to the Center’s homepage: www.gjucc.or.kr.  Roll over the tab in the top right of the main page labeled “Publication발간자료.”  Two options will pop up directly underneath.  Right click on the option on the right called “경주의옛사진.” read more »

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Downtown Events Gyeongju history Korean culture Sites to see Top 10

The Quiet Beauty of the Gyeongju Cultural Center (경주문화원)

Front Gate, Gyeongju Cultural Center

Front Gate, Gyeongju Cultural Center

Downtown Gyeongju can sometimes seem a mess of cars, cluttered streets and concrete buildings.  Yet tucked behind the Police Station, is the quiet oasis of the Gyeongju Cultural Center (경주문화원) with its lovely traditional architecture and serene gardens.  It has a relaxed, unassuming sort of beauty and, although it’s not quite Bulguksa, it’s home to a fair bit of local history in its own right. read more »

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Buddhist culture East Sea Gyeongju history Stories, legends & people Temples & shrines videos

Video: Seonmudo (선무도) Demonstration

Last month my University asked me to help guide a tour of Korean-American students around Gyeongju for a day.  That afternoon we stopped by Golgulsa (골굴사) Temple for a short lesson in Seonmudo (선무도), or Korean Zen martial arts.  In all the times I’d been to Golgulsa, I’d never actually seen what Seonmudo actually is.  Luckily for us the monks gave a demonstration after the lesson and got to show off some of their top moves.  I had my handycam with me, so here’s a short 3 minute video of some of the highlights I’ve edited together. read more »

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Gyeongju Gyo-dong Sites to see Stories, legends & people tips for tourists

Ancestral Home of the Choe Clan (최씨고탁)

Home of the Choe Clan

Home of the Choe Clan

Just 5 minutes around the corner from Cheomseondae Observatory is the historical neighborhood of Hwangnam-dong.  Tucked between the tombs and the river, Hwangnam-dong is a small neighborhood but it’s got a number of interesting places worth checking out.   It’s getting a face lift at the moment since they’re turning the entire place into a folk village as well as rebuilding the ancient Woljeonggyo (월정교) bridge across the river. read more »

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Downtown Gyeongju Ruins & remains tips for tourists

Old Fortress Walls of Gyeongju Eupseong (경주 읍성)

Gyeongju Eupseong Fortress Walls

Gyeongju Eupseong Fortress Walls

Right around the corner from the train station is a curious piece of recent Gyeongju history (recent being it’s only a couple hundred years old rather than 1,500).  Over the last year or two the city’s been taking pains to restore the old Chosun era city walls and battlements of Gyeongju Eupseong (East fortress). read more »

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