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Historic Site

Gameunsa Temple Site, Gyeongju

경주 감은사지 ( 慶州 感恩寺址 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Historic Site
Name of Cultural Properties Gameunsa Temple Site, Gyeongju
Quantity 26,807㎡
Designated Date 1963.01.21
Age King Munmu of Unified Silla
Address 55-1, Yongdang-ri, Yangbuk-myeon, Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do

Located on the East Coast, Gameunsa Temple was built during the Unified Silla Period and is home to two three-storied stone pagodas. The construction of Gameunsa Temple was initiated by King Munmu, the 30th king of the Silla Dynasty. After unifying the Three Dynasties, King Munmu wished to secure the divine aid of Buddha to resist Japanese invaders, so he ordered the temple constructed. Unfortunately, he died before its completion, and his son, King Sinmun, took over the work that was finished in 682, the second year of his reign. Since King Munmu had once expressed the wish to become a sea dragon to protect his country even after his death, his body was cremated and buried in the underwater tomb of Daewangam. The name of the temple, Gameunsa, signifies the gratitude of King Sinmun toward his father, King Munmu. Two years of extensive excavations and restorations have resulted in what is now a visible site. A special structure interpreted as the symbolic resting palace of King Munmu and a connecting tunnel to the East Sea have been uncovered, too. The excavation work also revealed that the temple consisted of a lecture hall, a main prayer hall, and the middle gate, all surrounded by the gallery buildings. The twin three-story pagodas were built around the beginning of the Silla Dynasty and are thought to be the biggest of the Silla pagodas. Along with Hwangnyongsa Temple and Sacheonwangsa Temple, Gameunsa Temple is believed to have been built to protect the nation. It is not known when and how the temple disappeared, however.