Travel Destinations

Gyeongju – Old School Korea

Gyeongju Old School Korea by Duke Stewart
Written by Carl Hedinger

Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future. – Elie Wiesel

Gyeongju – Old School Korea

When thinking of Korea, an image emerges of a woman in her mid-30s, running inside a train station. All the while trying not to hit anyone as she barrels towards some unspoken destination. In a way, that sums up modern Korea and puts it firmly into a nutshell for me. Perhaps it’s time to leave now. Class is over. No questions.

Cheomseongdae, Oldest Astro-observatory in East Asia

But wait! There’s more to it than that moment of frenzy. Hundreds or thousands of years more, to be clear. And yes, places exist to stand as physical proof of this time. Granted some are recreations but which part of this country WASN’T spared from the years of invasions and occupation.

Cheomseongdae from afar

Rebuilding requires tearing things down. And at a time when Korea started a path towards “miracle” status, the controversial man barely mentioned in today’s society made sure that things wouldn’t change in Gyeongju. His efforts assured the country of at least one cultural representation of the distant past. Korea’s industries picked up major steam in neighboring cities and forged a present and future hardly imagined by previous generations but still, the people can look back in one place.

Gyeongju Tomb, South Korea

Gyeongju stands for more than just a look into the Silla Dynasty long pushed out of existence. It’s probably one of the most accessible places and home to some truly tourist-friendly sites Korea can offer. “Tourist” might evoke visions of pushy tour groups elbowing and asserting their way through as many spots as their package advertised but if one arrives early enough, that sense of calm sought after can be achieved.

Gyeongju Tomb Park

Seoul, Busan, and a host of others offer glimpses into cities on the move but Gyeongju demonstrates a slower pace capable of working smoothly. Surrounded by cities of growth and industry, Gyeongju is a breath of fresh air and full of picturesque views more easily acquired than elsewhere. Cycling around the Silla tombs does well to put the beauty into perspective and made for the overall highlight of our time spent in Gyeongju.

Kids' Cycles in Gyeongju, South Korea

I wasn’t the only one. Everyone else who visits, gets it. This place means something. Why? The scenes and as a result, the hordes of visitors speak for themselves.

What do you think of Gyeongju? Ever been? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section! 

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Visit Gyeongju South Korea Old School by Duke Stewart

About the author

Carl Hedinger

I’m a writer and recovering American expat who shares my family’s travels through life. Follow our adventures here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.