Our first destination in Gyeongju was Bulguksa Temple, located about 30 minutes out of town. Designated as a UNESCO World Cultural site in 1995, the Buddhist temple is renowned for its intricate painted woodwork (particularly the eaves and interior), excellent carpentry, and harmonious landscape. Originally built in 528 AD, the temple was rebuilt and renovated several times due to expansion and war. After much of the site was burned down in the Japanese invasions from 1592-1598 (some were saved by Rev. Damhwa and his disciples), massive reconstruction and renovations occurred - in fact, 40 times up until 1805. Suffering from neglect and vandalism, a restoration committee was formed and in 1972, completed a three-year project on the other burnt buildings, which rebuilt and restored much of what we see today.