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Gyeongju, 370km southeast of the capital, was the seat of the powerful Sillia kings, who ruled the region for a thousand years or more. A bumper crop of historic monuments stand as their impressive legacy, the finest of them dating from the dynasty’s heyday between the 7th and 10th centuries. Comprising temples, pagodas, tombs, statues and ancient gardens, they stand in the shadow of Mt Namsan, Korea’s sacred peak, whose many shrines, tiny hermitages and Buddha reliefs carved from granite boulders can be viewed from the ancient pilgrimage paths ascending its sides. You can see a host of other national treasures at the city’s well stocked museum, whose prize exhibits include the massive Emille Bell (8th century) and solid gold Sillia crowns.