Photo by Seyun Oh
Situated at the northeast edge of the Wolseong palace site in central Gyeongju, Anapji is an artificial pond constructed by order of King Munmu of Silla Kingdom in 674 CE, and was a part of the Wolseong palace complex, especially for the Crown Prince. The pond irregular shaped seen from above with 200m from east to west and 180m long from north to south contains three small islands symbolizing homelands of "immortals".
The palace complex around the pond was called Donggung, literally the East Palace, and the pond Wolji, literally the moon pond. The Donggung was one of the main palaces of the United Silla Kingdom. Many buildings were located within the palace grounds including Imhaejeon Hall. Parties were reportedly held here to celebrate the festive events of the kingdom or to welcome visitors.
Samguk sagi (History of the Three Kingdoms) has it that "a large pond was excavated at the palace, flowers were planted, and rare birds and strange animals were raised" in the 14th year of the reign of King Munmu (679), "Donggung was established" in the 19th year of the reign of King Munmu(679), and 'a party was held in Imhaejeon for Taejo, the founder of the Goryeo Dynasty" in the 5th year of the reign of King Gyeongsun (931).
Wolji Pond was uncovered during the dredging work beginning in 1975. Wolji became derelict during the Joseon period and later was referred to as Anapji because wild geese and ducks used to flock there. Anapji means "wild goose and duck pond".