Last weekend, the boyfriend and I ventured to Gyeongju – a nearby touristy city that’s famous for its history. It’s an incredibly old city and was formerly the capital of the Silla Kingdom back a million years ago. Okay, not a million but close – back in 57BC-935AD. Since then, the city has suffered massive destruction (and then rebuilding) from wars and battles.
We heard Gyeongju has a beautiful autumn scenery and also huge, ancient tombs, so we were obviously down to see both. There are 35 royal tombs of kings and queens during the Silla Kingdom in the form of huge, protruding, grassy hills.
I attempted to follow Nate as he climbed the first [giant] tomb we saw, only to realize halfway up that I wasn’t going to make it. Uggs + steep grass are not the most ideal climbing conditions. Some of these tombs are as high as 20 meters and I realized that the climb down would be even worse, especially since there’s nothing to grab onto but grass. So after panicking and slowly making my way down, I saw that the other side of the tomb wasn’t nearly as steep so I climbed to the top to enjoy this view:
There are hundreds of tombs in and around Gyeongju. A few have been excavated and tens of thousands of ancient artifacts were found inside them. There is one tomb, Cheonmachong, that is open to the public so people can go inside the chambers and see the crown, jewels and other burial goods that were found inside (we unfortunately didn’t know about it until after leaving but there’s always next time! Because who wouldn’t want to go creeping around a 1500-year-old grave.)
The rest of the day was spent meandering through Gyeongju National Park, watching families fly kites, getting drenched in the rain, and wandering around Anapji royal pond garden.
Feel free to bury me in a ginormous “tumulus”, as they call it (“a mound of earth and stones raised over a grave” – thank you Wikipedia!) with my MacBookPro, iPhone, cameras and…yeah, that’s about all of my possessions that would be deemed “valuable” (life of a nomad). Hopefully by the time I die, I would have acquired a crown or two and some nice jewelry to fill (what better be) my giant tomb :).