The Wolseong Belt


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The Wolseong Belt

 


The main monuments in this area are the ruined palace site of Wolseong, the Gyerim woodland which legend identifies as the birthplace of the founder of the Gyeongju Kim clan, Anapji Pond, on the site of the ruined Imhaejeon Palace, and the Cheomseongdae Observatory. Wolseong (Moon Palace) takes its name from the shape of its compound. To the south the Namcheon stream forms a natural defence, and ditches were dug round the other three sides to create a water-filled moat. Its history goes back at least to the 1st century CE, when a princely compound was taken over by the Silla King. A royal palace was built at the end of that century and it was enlarged and reconstructed over succeeding centuries by successive Silla Kings, for whom it was their main palace. Another palace was built at Imhaejeon in the second half of the 7th century. Its opulent garden was graced by a beautifully configured pond (known as Wolji), with a sacred mountain in its centre. Both palace and pond were destroyed when the Silla rulers were ousted, but what remains of the pond has always been populated by wildfowl, from which it acquired its popular name, Anapji, the Pond of Geese and Ducks. The Cheomseongdae Observatory was built towards the middle of the 7th century. The platform consists of twelve rectangular slabs, which support a structure of 365 granite blocks arranged in thirty successive layers. The circumference of the base is 5.17m and the total height 9.17m; the structure tapers towards the top to provide stability. The square internal space is filled with earth and stones up to the twelfth course and open from then for twelve more courses to the top. Access is by means of a window at this level and there is an internal staircase. The astronomical ascription derives from the fact that the number of blocks is equivalent to the number of days of the year and the number of open courses to the twelve months of the year and the signs of the Zodiac.

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