October 13, 2014

1297 SOUTH KOREA (North Gyeongsang) - Gyeongju Historic Areas (UNESCO WHS)

Formerly the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla (57 BC-935 AD), which ruled about two-thirds of the Korean Peninsula between the 7th and 9th centuries, Gyeongju, located at the coast of the Sea of Japan, has a vast number of archaeological sites and cultural properties from this period, being sometimes known as one of the largest outdoor museums in the world. The protected areas, designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, encompass a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces.

The Buddhist monuments that have been excavated on the Mount Namsan Belt include the ruins of 122 temples, 53 stone statues, 64 pagodas and 16 stone lanterns. Excavations have also revealed the remains of the pre-Buddhist natural and animistic cults of the region. 36 individual monuments, including rock-cut reliefs or engravings, stone images and heads, pagodas, royal tombs and tomb groups, wells, a group of stone banner poles, the Namsan Mountain Fortress, the Poseokjeong Pavilion site and the Seochulji Pond, exist within this area. The Tumuli Park Belt consists of three groups of Royal Tombs, which contain double wood coffins covered with gravel, and excavations have revealed rich grave goods of gold, glass, and fine ceramics.

Hwangnyongsa Belt consists of two Buddhist temples, Bunhwangsa Temple and the ruins of Hwangnyongsa Temple. Hwangnyongsa, built to the order of King Jinheung (540-576 CE) was the largest temple ever built in Korea. The Sanseong Fortress Belt consists of defensive facilities along the east coast and at other strategic points and includes the Myeonghwal Mountain Fortress. The Wolseong Belt includes the ruined palace site of Wolseong, the Gyerim woodland which legend identifies as the birthplace of the founder of the Gyeongju Kim clan, the ruins and reconstructions of the pavilions at the artificial Anapji Pond (on the postcard), the ruins of the Imhaejeon Palace, and the famous Cheomseongdae Observatory.

Situated at the northeast edge of the Banwolseong palace site, Anapji Pond was constructed by order of King Munmu in 674 CE. It has an oval shape (200m from east to west and 180m from north to south) and contains three small islands. Anapji was dredged and rebuilt in 1974. The long-term excavation project from March 1975 to December 1986 released a large number of relics from the pond. Research revealed that the pond had been surrounded by stone walls, and that 5 buildings had been standing on the pond's west to south sides. Waterway systems were also detected. Almost 33,000 pieces of historic relics were excavated from the site.

About the stamps
The first stamp, depicting a Strix aluco, is part of a definive series of Owls which was issued on September 1st, 2005. The second was issued on February 3, 2006, and depicts an orchid named Crinum asiaticum var. Japonicum Baker.

The last stamp is part of the series Celebrated Mountains of Korea Series (5th) - Mt. Geumgangsan, issued on October 17, 2008:
• Outer Geumgangsan’s panoramic view - it's on the postcard
• Sangpaldam Pools
• Manmulsang District - it's on other postcard
• Gwimyeonam Rock

Gyeongju Historic Areas - Wikipedia
Gyeongju Historic Areas - UNESCO official website

Sender: Wonsik
Sent from Incheon (Incheon / South Korea), on 20.08.2014

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