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Korea-Gyeongju-Gyerim Forest-Shrine-01.jpg
Korean name
Hangul 계림
Hanja 鷄林
Revised Romanization Gyerim
McCune–Reischauer Kyerim

The Gyerim is a small woodland in Gyeongju National Park, Gyeongju, South Korea. The name literally means "rooster forest." The grove lies near the old site of the Silla kingdom palace in central Gyeongju. Nearby landmarks include the Banwolseong fortress, Cheomseongdae, the Gyeongju National Museum, and the Royal Tombs Complex.[1]


The original name of Gyerim was Sirim (시림, 始林). However, according to the Samguk Sagi, a 12th-century Korean history, Sirim was the site where the child Kim Alji, founder of the Gyeongju Kim clan, was discovered. Found in a golden box accompanied by a rooster, he was adopted by the royal family. His descendants became the later kings of Silla and the forest where he was found was renamed Gyerim, "rooster forest." [2] The Samguk Yusa, a 13th-century miscellanea of tales relating to the Three Kingdoms of Korea, gives a different origin of the term Gyerim. According to that text, the founder of Silla, Bak Hyeokgeose, was born at a stream called Gyejeong (계정, 鷄井), "rooster well," and that his future consort was born from a dragon that came to earth at another place called Gyeryongseo (계룡서, 鷄龍瑞), and for this reason the area was renamed Gyerim.[1][3]

Based upon the legends of Silla's founding, Gyerim also became a sobriquet for that state. The earliest recorded reference we have of Gyerim being used to designate Silla is from the Chinese histories. The Old Book of Tang records that in 663 Tang Gaozong designated Silla as Gyerim Territory Area Command (Hangul: 계림도독부, Hanja:鷄林州都督府) and Silla's King Munmu the Gyerimju dodok, Commander-in-chief of Gyerim Territory.[1] [4] The early eighth-century Silla scholar Kim Daemun authored a no longer extant book of tales of Silla entitled Gyerim japjeon (계림잡전, 鷄林雜傳).[5]

Gyerim also appears in the title of the early 12th-century Chinese work Jilin Leishi, or Gyerim Yusa (계림유사, 鷄林類事), which provides one of the earliest sources of information on the pronunciation of the native Korean language.[6]

Historical landmark[edit]

Being considered a holy place, a monument commemorating the birth legend of Kim Alji was built in 1803 the Joseon dynasty.[7] Gyerim has been designated as historical landmark #19 from the Korean government since January, 1963. The grounds cover 7,300㎡ and has a dense forest of old oak, ash, zelkova, willow, Korean lespedeza, scarlet maple and locust trees.[1][3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d (Korean) Gyeongju Gyerim at Doosan Encyclopedia
  2. ^ (Korean) Kim Alji at Doosan Encyclopedia
  3. ^ a b (Korean) Gyerim at Britannica Korea
  4. ^ (Korean) Gyerim dodok at Doosan Encyclopedia
  5. ^ (Korean) Gyerim japjeon at Doosan Encyclopedia
  6. ^ (Korean) Gyerim Yusa at Doosan Encyclopedia
  7. ^ Gyeongju Gyerim Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°52′03″N 129°13′23″E / 35.8675°N 129.2230°E / 35.8675; 129.2230