Standing 14.5 meters in height, the Seven-Story Stone Pagoda located at Tappyeong-ri, Gageum-myeon, Chungju-si, is the tallest of the extant stone pagodas built in the Unified Silla Period.
It is presumed that the area around the pagoda was once a temple site, since roof tiles are sometimes discovered there, and part of a stone lantern pedestal lies close to the pagoda.
It is also referred to as the “Central Pagoda” because it is located in the middle of the Korean Peninsula.
The pagoda consists of a seven-story body placed on a two-story platform; its upper part is decorated with a finial.
The platform is sufficiently wide to support the pagoda’s lofty body, each corner of which is carved with a stone pillar.
Each roof stone is supported by a five-story stone support, and the four corners of the roof stones are slightly raised at the end, conferring vitality to the pagoda, which might otherwise look heavy.
The ornamental finial at the top exhibits a unique style in which two similar supporting stones are piled.
Indeed, it departs considerably from the finials of typical stone pagodas of the Silla Period, which were usually laid on a single supporting stone.
Although this magnificent pagoda is built on a grand scale, it is too high compared to its width, making it look rather unstable.
It is presumed that the pagoda was built during the late 8th century, considering the techniques used to make each part - including the arrangement of the stone pillars on the platform and the composition of the body and roof stones.
In other words, this pagoda shows the characteristic features of pagodas built toward the end of the Unified Silla Period, when the expression of the more detailed parts became weakened.
Various artifacts including reliquaries were discovered under the body stone of the sixth floor and the platform when the pagoda was undergoing repair work in 1917.
In particular, a mirror found inside the sixth body stone was dated to the Goryeo Period, suggesting that some of the artifacts were not enshrined in the pagoda in the Unified Silla Period but during the subsequent Goryeo Period.