World's Greatest Places 2021
Woljeonggyo Bridge in Gyeongju, South Korea.
Kyoungsik Bae—Shutterstock
July 20, 2021 6:33 AM EDT

South Korea’s “museum without walls” is an ancient wonder that keeps evolving. The city enjoyed a nearly thousand-year reign as the capital of the ancient Korean kingdom of Silla. Gyeongju’s abundant archaeological sites include temple and palace ruins and nobility burial mounds. Ongoing excavation efforts are still uncovering Silla’s treasures—last year’s major find was a pair of 5th century gilt-bronze shoes. Late last year, the newly refreshed Gyeongju National Museum’s Silla History wing was unveiled by acclaimed Seoul design outfit Teo Yang Studio, showcasing the area’s ancient artifacts within a modern, minimalist setting. The launch of new bullet trains, meanwhile, will slash journey times between the city and Seoul, bringing fresh eyes to view the old capital. —Duncan Forgan

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