Korea’s ancient Daegaya capital
Korea used to be divided into different countries, each ruled by a king. At some point in Korean history, a kingdom called Daegaya existed, along with Baekje, Silla and Goguryeo. It was founded by Noeijiljuil, later known as King Ijinasi. Daegaya is believed to have existed for about 520 years, from A.D. 42 to 562. The capital of Daegaya was in present-day city of Goryeong in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. Daegaya was conquered by Silla in A.D. 562.
Having been a great kingdom in the past, it’s not surprising to see a lot of historical sites in Goryeong. One of these sites is the Jisan-dong Daegaya Tumuli. The Jisan-dong Daegaya Tumuli is a group of ancient burial mounds situated on the hills surrounding Daegaya-eup. There’s a total of 704 large and small burial mounds.
Visitors follow the trail leading to the Jisan-dong Daegaya Tumuli.
The burial mounds remind me of the ones I saw in Gyeongju.
Excavations at some of the mounds yielded a lot of interesting artifacts. The most interesting find, however, is the discovery of a grand scale soonjang tomb. A soonjang is a burial practice in which living servants are buried along with their deceased master. Artifacts found at Jisan-dong Tumulus No. 44 suggest that a master, along with 40 others, were buried there.
Last week, I attended an event at the Daegaya Historical Theme Park. We stayed at one of the log cabins in the Daegaya Royal Family Village. The Daegaya Royal Family Village is a group of log cabins named after the royals of Daegaya. Several cabins were named after the kings of Daegaya. There’s also a cabin that was named after the great musician of Daegaya Ureuk. Ureuk created Korea’s best-known traditional instrument, the gayageum. A gayageum is a 12-string zither that’s well-loved by Koreans both ancient and contemporary. It is also getting more and more popular outside Korea.
There are cozy accommodations available at the Daegaya Royal Family Village.
The Daegaya Historical Theme Park and the Daegaya Royal Family Village have been attracting visitors because some scenes on Korean TV shows, like “The Producers,” were filmed there. Three of the main cast members, Kim Soo Hyun, Cha Tae Hyun and IU, stayed at the Daegaya Royal Family Village. Their photos hang in front of the log cabins in which they stayed and around the theme park, too.
This is the cabin where Cha Tae Hyun stayed.
The TV show ‘The Producers’ was filmed around the Daegaya Royal Family Village.
On our second day in Goryeong, I got to try on some Daegaya royal robes. The sleeves were really long!
When wearing the Daegaya royal robes, I felt like a bird with glossy feathers and wings.
We also took a guided tour. We went to see the Jisan-dong Daegaya Tumuli and the Daegaya Historical Museum where we learned much about Daegaya history. We also entered the Royal Tomb Exhibition Hall to see Tumulus No. 44 where we saw the arrangement of the burial chambers. While looking at the chambers, I felt sad for those who were buried alive with their master and thought that we are lucky to be born in a time when the custom of soonjang no longer exists.
The dome is one of the main sites at the Daegaya Royal Family Village.
Stones quietly tell the sad stories that happened long, long ago.
Though I stayed in Goryeong for less than two days, I felt like I learned so much. I would like to visit Goryeong again for the Goryeong Daegaya Experience Festival, which will be held from April 6 to 9 at the Daegaya Historical Theme Park. I might also visit the Ureuk Museum. I heard it’s the only museum in Korea that specializes in the gayageum.
By Ma. Lilia Pedellume
Korea.net Honorary Reporter
Photos: Ma. Lilia Pedellume