Sightseeing in Gyeongju

We left our hotel by the beach and headed to the Gyeongju National Museum. It was beautiful! This museum is known to have the largest selection of Silla Dynasty artifacts in Korea. Korea's largest cast iron bell sits by the museum's entrance.

The story behind the 'Emille Bell' is quite sad. It was commissioned by the Silla Dynasty King in 771. When the bell was first struck, it failed to ring. When it was recast and struck again, it cracked. After these failed attempts, the King's spiritual leader said that the first daughter born in the year of the dragon needed to be found and thrown into the molten metal before it was poured. This was done and when struck, the new bell did not crack. Yet, the sound of the bell resonated with the cry of the child for its mother ('emille' means mother in the ancient Silla language).

We also visited Cheomseongdae, the oldest astronomical observatory in all of East Asia. Next to the stone observatory, are very large mound tombs. The inhabitants of the tombs are unknown and have been left undisturbed for now.

Next, we hiked to a Buddhist temple with gorgeous stone carvings of Buddha and other deities. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take photos inside the temple. All over the grounds of the temple were stacks of rocks meant to protect your family from evil. I stacked up 3 little rocks for our new family (the third being Kogi).

We ended our day with a swan boat ride. I thought it would be relaxing after all of the walking we did today, but we ended up working pretty hard to maneuver that paddle boat around the lake.