Once the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty, which ruled much of southern Korea for close to a thousand years, the southeastern city of Gyeongju is one of South Korea's lesser-known attractions. Under Silla, Gyeongju became a cosmopolitan, prosperous enclave of almost one million. While Gyeongju later fell from prominence, the city continued to remain regionally significant - particularly for its rich repository of relics, a testament to the deep, nuanced past of South Korea.
Today, Gyeongju is rich with history, and offers well-preserved examples of Silla-era architecture, as well as the site of fierce battles and resistance to Imperial Japanese forces in the early twentieth century. Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Seokguram grotto and the historic Bulguksa Temple, as well as Anapji, a Silla-era pleasure garden that is a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts.