Tag Archive | Gaya kingdom

Kimhae City, Korea – the Gaya Kingdom

Kimhae City is the ancient region of the Gaya Kingdom. It is located west of Busan City in South Korea.

Gaya kingdom began in 42 A.D. when King Sooro was born near present day Kimhae. According to tradition six eggs were dropped from heaven and were to become six kings. The area named Goo Ji Bong in Kimhae City is the birthplace of King Sooro. The story says that this area is where the 500 year history of the Gaya Kingdom was born. It is also the birthplace of Goo Ji Ga, the poetry from that time era in Korea’s literary traditions. King Sooro is named as the father of all the Kims of Kimhae City.

Goo Ji Bong

Plaque in Kimhae describing Goo Ji Bong area as the birthplace of King Sooru. He founded the Karak nation and became the father of all the Kims originating from Kimhae.

As I mentioned in my post on the Shilla Dynasty,  Shilla Dynasty overtook Gaya Kingdom in 562 AD.

Map of Gaya from Wikipedia site

Map of Gaya from Wikipedia site

The Kimhae Museum has an excellent display of many artifacts and history of Gaya. The people of Gaya Kingdom were well known for their iron working skill. They traded their iron works with Japan and other East Asian countries. The video shown below gives a very interesting summary of Gaya’s history.



Some artifacts from Kimhae Museum:

All photos from Wikipedia


Photos from our visit to the Queen of King Sooro’s tomb and Kimhae Museum.

The Shilla Dynasty

While Rome was busy trying to keep control of its empire, the Korean peninsula was in the process of solidifying its power blocks.

The period called the three kingdoms is when some unification of the peninsula started taking place. Shilla kingdom was located in the southeast of the peninsula, where present day Busan City and area is. Baekje was in the southwest, where present day Jeolla province is. Goguryeo was in the north area.

Shilla(57 B.c. – 935A.D.)

Baekje (18 B.C – 660 A.D.)

Goguryeo (37 B.C. – 668 A.D.)



The Kaya kingdom was formed later than the others from 42 A.D. and remained until 562 when Shilla swallowed it up. Spelling differences in the names are due to the romanisation of the Korean names. When Shilla annexed the Kaya/Gaya kingdom, Baekje and Goguryeo responded by allying together. Shilla then countered with a unification with the Tang Dynasty in China. That tipped the scales and Shilla then united the southern parts of Korea and the north passed into the Balhae era, so that there was a north/south delineation.

This map shows the geographical boundaries of the two kingdoms around 830 A.D. Balhae extended far into Manchuria and Russia until China rose up and took back some of the land.


The Unified Shilla Kingdom remained from 676 until 935 and Balhae Kingdom was in existence about the same time period. Obviously the south of the peninsula is very proud of their Shilla Dynasty roots. The capital of the Kingdom was Gyongju. It was the capital of the Shilla Dynasty for 1000 years. They call the whole city a ‘museum without walls’ as there are Kings tombs scattered throughout the area. It is designated as a World Heritage Site.

Kings tombs

Kings tombs

more tombs

more tombs

It was during the Shilla dynasty that Buddhism became the official religion for the Kingdom.

Bulgok sa in fall

Bulguk sa (temple) in fall

Bul gok sa

Bul guk sa (Sa means temple)

The temple of Bul Guk is the most famous temple of Kyong ju. It has a Unesco Heritage Treasure designation.

Korea's biggest bell

Korea’s biggest bell

A huge bronze bell is displayed near the Kyong-ju National Museum. It is one of Korea’s National Treasures.

Here we are by the Bomun Lake

Here we are by Bomun Lake Resort.


The Bomun Lake Resort is an international tourist destination. There are five super-deluxe hotels, a golf course, an amusement park, a hot spring, museums, and lots of shopping.

Maurie and Darcy in front of the Cheomseongdae Observatory

Us in front of the Cheomseongdae Observatory

This observatory is the oldest existing astronomical observatory in Asia. It was constructed about 632-647 and was used for observing the stars and forecasting the weather. It is one of Korea’s National Treasures.

That’s my short history for the Shilla Dynasty in Korea. I recommend seeing this city when you come to Korea. Koreans, especially those in the Kyung Sang province, are very proud of their Shilla Dynasty.