Gyeongju Oreung (경주 오릉, Five Tombs)



Oreung (Five Tombs)


Despite their irregular sizes and areas, the five royal tombs rest harmoniously alongside one another.
The royal personages said to be buried here include King Bak Hyeokgeose and his wife, Queen Alyeong; the second Silla king, Namhae; the third Silla king, Yuri; and the fifth Silla king, Pasa.
If so, then this means that nearly all of Silla’s early kings are gathered here.








According to another legend about Oreung, it is said that all five of the royal tombs belong to King Bak Hyeokgeose.
Legend has it that King Hyeokgeose ascended to heaven after ruling for 61 years.
Seventeen days later, his body fell to earth from heaven, scattered in five pieces, upon which his queen died.
As the people attempted to bury the five pieces of the king's body in a tomb, along with the deceased queen, a large snake appeared and prevented them from doing so.
Hindered by the snake, the people had to bury the royal remains in five separate tombs, hence the name “Sareung” (蛇陵), meaning “Serpent Tombs.”
“All the royal tombs of Seonamsan belong to members of the Bak clan!”
To the southwest of Namsan, there are six zones where royal Silla tombs are found, including Oreung (“Five Tombs”) and Samreung (“Three Tombs”).
It is noteworthy that all of these tombs are occupied by royals surnamed Bak.
Among the 56 kings of Silla, there were ten kings surnamed Bak.
They were Bak Hyeokgeose (1st king, consort Alyeong), Namhae (2nd king), Yuri (3rd king), Pasa (5th king), Jima (6th king), Ilseong (7th king), Adalla (8th king), Sindeok, a descendant of Adalla (53rd king), Gyeongmyeong (54th king), and Gyeongae (55th king).
The Birth Legend of Bak Hyeokgeose
About 2,100 years ago, there were six villages on the open plains of Gyeongju, each ruled by its own village chief.
One day, a strange light from the sky shone upon a well called Najeong, and a white horse was seen bowing down. Hearing humans, the horse raced away, and a purple egg was discovered in that spot.
From inside the egg a fine-looking boy emerged.
The boy grew up exceptionally bright, and when he turned 13, the six village chiefs agreed to unify their chiefdoms into one nation, making the boy the king.
Thus the first king of Silla came to existence, and they named the nation ‘Seorabeol.’





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