Anapji Lake was built in 674 during the reign of King Munmu-wang after the unification of the Korean Peninsula. It has three central islands and to the north and east are 12 hills: a composition reflecting the Sinseon(Daoist) philosophy.
Beautiful trees and flowers as well as rare birds and animals were brought from all over the known world to these islands and hills.
A number of pavilions, including the large Imhaejeon, were constructed around the lake and were used for state festivals, banquets and as a prince's palace. Anapji is an excellent example of garden and lake construction of that period.
The reconstruction of the present lake and structures were based on an archaeological project undertaken in 1975-76. The original water conduit, drainage channel and stone embankments were excavated and restored accordingly.
Among the 26 building foundations and corridors excavated, only there were confirmed to belong to the Silla period and those have been restored.
The remaining building foundations were overlaid with earth and reproduced as faithfully as possible.
A scale model of the Anapji site, one fiftieth its original size, is on display.
The royal authority which was successful in accumulation of capital through the territorial expansion during the unification period had special interest in construction of luxurious palaces. After the unification in 674, Anapji was constructed. and in 679, the renovation of the palaces was undertaken, as well as a grand palace with several gates for the crown prince.
The records of the Samkuksagi about Anapji and Imhaejon are as follows:
The 14th year of his reign(697), King Hyoso and the 5th year of his reign(769) held a party with his courtiers. In the 2nd year of King Sosung's reign (800) two gates were broken. Some fragments of pottery were found in Anapji in 1980. Some claims that the original name of Anapji is Wolji(Moon pond) and the palace of the crown prince was also called Woljigung. According to this, the present name Anapji comes from travellers of the Chosun Kingdom, when this site became deserted - ducks and geese flying through the deep fields of reeds and duckweeds.
The pond is 15,658 square kilometers in area, with 190 meters east to south, 190 meters south to north. The length of the stone embankments-including those around the islets-is 1,285 meters. A straight stone embankment is on the west and south banks, and a curved one is on the east and north banks. Buildings were constructed to the west and south of the pond, The effect of the straight and curved stone embankments made it impossible to have competitive whole view of the pond in any one place. Three islets of different sizes are in the pond. They are the imitation of the Sanshindo, which are believed to be in the east sea. Twelve peaks, imitations of Wu-shan Mountain in China, are found to the north of the pond. Samkuksagi says that in February of the 14th year of his reign, King Munmu instructed that a pond and hilllock be built on palace grounds, where trees and flowering plants were planted and rare animals raised.
The stone embankment on the east and north banks is about 2.1 meters high, while the one on the west and south of the pond is 5.4 meters high. The height difference was made for people to look down the pond from the pavilion.
Twenty six building sites, eight wall sites, one water conduit and two drainage ducts have been found in the west of the pond and the building sites in the south. In 1980, three buildings of the five building sites on the west bank were restored, the stepping stones replaced for buildings. More than 30,000 artifacts were found, including roof tiles. In the annex building in the Kyongju National Museum, 700 artifacts from Anapji are on display, including daily objects used by the royal court along with a wooden boat. Unlike artifacts from most ancient tombs, the artifacts from Anapji are all utilitarian.