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Reviving Gyeongju, the Spectacular Ancient Millennial Capital

Reviving Gyeongju, the Spectacular Ancient Millennial Capital

Posted July. 21, 2005 03:05,   


The Gyeongju Historic Culture City plan has been confirmed to be a national project. The project will comprehensively and systematically restore and preserve the cultural relics of Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, the former millennial capital of the Shilla Dynasty. A minimum of two trillion won will be invested in this project over the next three decades.

At the Gyeongju Historic Culture City project plan conference held at the Hyundae Hotel in the Bomun tourist site on Wednesday afternoon, Minister of Culture and Tourism Chung Dong-chae said, “This project has been confirmed to be a national project of the participatory government and will continue until 2034.”

Over 200 people participated in the conference, including Minister Chung, Administrator Yoo Hong-jun of the Cultural Heritage Administration, Governor Lee Eui-geun of Gyeongsangbuk-do, Mayor Baek Sang-seung of Gyeongju, scholars and cultural figures of Gyeongju, and Gyeongju citizens.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism plans to finance 416 billion won over the next five years until 2009 during the first stage of the project for the restoration of the Hwangryongsa temple and the Woljeonggyo bridge, construction of a park around an ancient tomb, organization of a laser show at Cheomseongdae at night, and exhibitions.

The Korean Culture and Tourism Policy Institute estimates that the project will cost more than 3.27 trillion won, but the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is said to be reviewing measures to cut the budget to around 2.4 trillion won.

At the center of attention during the first stage of the project is the restoration of Hwangryongsa.

The government plans to invest 100 billion won in restoring the corridors (Hoerang and Geumdang) that served as the entry way for Shilla royalties and the sanctum on the area where the temple once stood. Afterwards, it is the government’s plan to install a special screen where laser beams will represent the Hwangryongsa Nine-Layer Wooden Pagoda.

However, there is no data on the structure or feature of the wooden pagoda, making it difficult to restore accurately the mysterious relic only mentioned in such historic books as Samgukyusa and Samguksagi.

Gyeongsangbuk-do Cultural Heritage researcher Kim Yong-man said, “So far, cultural experts have said that restoring the Nine-Layer Wooden Pagoda is impossible because of a lack of reference, but it would still be meaningful if we were able to restore the pagoda with Shilla’s stone pagodas and look to it as a symbol of Gyeongju.”

The government also will launch construction projects such as excavating an ancient tomb and making a park with a world history city culture hall and a lookout (64 billion won), launching night time laser shows around Cheomseongdae (10 billion won), and realigning the village of Yangdong and Gyeongju’s Namsan (26 billion won).

The government plans to ask another expert to calculate the total capital needed and, with the estimates, it will confirm the budget and the specifics of the project.