What Is Cheomseongdae?
If someone asks Korean citizens about their favorite historical sites in Gyeongju, majority of them will reply “Cheomseongdae” as their answer. Cheomseongdae, which means “high platform for star gazing,” is the oldest astronomical observatory in East Asia with an elaborate structure of 362 pieces of granite. The number 362 represents a year of the lunar calendar. Based on the scientific history, Cheomseongdae was used as an observatory during the Silla dynasty. Located on an open field, people who lived during the Silla dynasty could observe the stars and galaxies with their own eyes despite the non-existence of electricity in the late 6th century. The tower is filled with soil up to the height of the window so that the astronomers and observers could be on a higher level for their observation. The soil has helped the tower maintain its shape for almost a thousand years. However, Cheomseongdae is now leaning towards the northern-east direction because the ground has become weaker than before.
|Figure 1. Cheomseongdae Night View
What is Daereungwon? Is it a place like a valley of the pharaoh in Egypt?
After visiting Cheomseongdae, there is a great place for people to walk and rest. In 35) the middle of the downtown, there are numerous royal tombs. Ten years ago, people could run and play on top of these tombs. However, after the tombs and other historical remains near Daereungwon were designated as a UNESCO historical heritage site, people could no longer play on top of the tombs anymore.
Daereungwon is where kings and queens were buried during the Silla Dynasty (57 BC ~ 935 AD). People can see various types of famous tombs in Daereungwon, and this place is recognized as a significant and outstanding historical site. Inside Daereungwon, there are many places with historical value like Cheomseongdae. The East palace and the Wolji are located nearby Daereungwon.
When people enter Daereungwon, they can see a lot of different tombs and their corresponding names. On the other hand, there are strange things about the names of tombs. Some of the names end with “reung,” and some of them end with “chong.” This is strange because “reung” and “chong” have different meanings. Why do they have to call the tombs with those two names? First, “reung” means the tomb of kings and the queens, and so people could know whose tomb it is. On the other hand, “chong” means that the owner of the tomb is unknown.
This place poses cultural importance because the Japanese stole many monuments and sites with Korean historical value of the Silla dynasty during the colonization. However, these tombs of Daereungwon could not be taken away by them. The tombs are safe in their place and serve the purpose of showing people the lifestyle of the Silla people. Due to many imposing and majestic historical remains discovered by the archaeologists, the discoveries could let me think that Silla people were clever and bright.
In Daerungwon, there are some tombs where people can go inside to learn more about Silla Dynasty, such as the Cheonmachong. This tomb is one of the tombs in Gyeongju which the name of the owner is unknown. Why can people get inside Cheonmachong? The answer is pretty simple. During the process of excavation, archaeologists discovered huge amounts of important historical monuments despite the small size of Cheonmachong. Therefore, they made a small museum where people can visit and observe the various monuments that were discovered in Cheonmachong.
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Eunseo Choi email@example.com
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