Monday, March 12, 2012

Never mind the Bulguksa

Yes, yes, alright, it's another Korean temple complex. I appreciate we're all getting a bit bored of these red gates, sloping roofs, stone pagodas and massive clanging bells now (I'm not bored of the bells), but since Bulguksa is a pretty significant temple, I had to see it before I left Gyeongju.

I'm drawing a line under Korea's Buddhist heritage now. Just as I said after visiting the Mother Temple at the end of my Bali trip, and Preah Khan after an exhausting two days of temple trekking in Cambodia, I'm through with temples in this country.

It's not like you're really seeing Korea's heritage when you visit these places anyway, as the Japanese pretty efficiently burned everything of interest down during their various invasions over the centuries. Although Bulguksa was restored to its original eighth century (AD751-774) form, you're still taking photos of something built in the 1970s. Like the thousands of tourists who take photos each year of the 1980s facade of Hatshepsut Temple in Egypt, which is this blog's top non-glamour hit. You idiots! I have nothing but contempt for my readers.

Are you still there? I like you really. Here are some final things from Gyeongju.


Bad-arse guards

More bad-arse when you see this. Is that supposed to be blood on his shoes, or neglect?

Cheongungyo and Baegungyo (Blue Cloud and White Cloud bridges)

Bomyeongru pavilion

Yeonhwagyo and Chilbogyo (Lotus Flower and Seven Treasures bridges).
That's it, from now on I'm only taking photos of things I can actually pronounce

This was supposed to be a photo of Gwaneumjon shrine, but I got distracted by a squirrel.
Squirrels are loads better than shrines

Moosoljon lecture hall, which predates the rest of the place (670AD). Though was similarly destroyed and rebuilt in 1973, making it essentially a memento

I told you to keep that OCD kid away from the pebbles

A waterfall frozen in time, like the temple itself, which... something about preserving the past?
Let's face it, this will never be an inspirational blog

Gyeongju's three-storey stone pagodas are too numerous to bother documenting but seemingly too important to ignore, so I'll get a few of them out of the way here.

Clockwise from top left: Hwango-dong, Goseonsa, Bulguksa, Hwangboksa

Yangdong Village

This tranquil little village in Seolchangsan valley is still inhabited by Koreans who yearn for a simpler, more traditional way of life, away from the distractions of contemporary society...

YEAH, RIGHT. I suppose that dish is for harvesting rainwater, yeah?
It's like catching an Amish kid playing a 3DS

Jeongchung Stele Pavilion (1800)

Gwangajeong house (1500 - however literally you want to take that figure)

Hyangdan clan house (1543)

600-year-old (about) Chinese juniper, looking grand and broccoli-y

I've run out of hilarious observational quips. Just enjoy the pictures

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