N.K.’s historic sites step closer to UNESCO listing

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 13, 2013 - 20:35
  • Updated : May 13, 2013 - 20:35
North Korea’s historic monuments and sites of the Goryeo Kingdom (918-1392) in Gaeseong have been recommended for UNESCO World Heritage Site listing by a UNESCO affiliate.

The recommendation moves the ancient capital city’s relics, on a tentative list since 2000, a step closer to being acknowledged as a place worth international attention and preservation. The final decision on the listing will be made at a UNESCO congress in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on June 16-27. 
From left: Seonjuk Bridge, Gaeseong City Wall’s Namdaemun, Sungyang Seowon, and the Mausoleum of King Gongmin, are all sites that have been recommended for listing as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. (Yonhap News)

Those sites included in the recommendation by the UNESCO International Council on Monuments and Sites are: five separate sections of the Gaeseong City Wall; Manwoldae Palace archaeological site and the remains of the Gaeseong Cheomseongdae, an astronomical and meteorological observatory tower; Goryeo Seonggyungwan, an institute of higher learning; Sungyang Seowon, a private Confucian academy; Seonjuk Bridge and Pyochung Monuments; the Mausoleum of King Wanggeon with the associated Seven Tombs Cluster and Myeongreung Tombs Cluster; and the Mausoleum of King Gongmin.

The council said the Gaeseong sites exhibited the assimilation of the cultural, spiritual and political values of the various states that existed on the Korean Peninsula prior to the Goryeo Kingdom, and the exchange of such values with other neighboring kingdoms over a period of five centuries.

It also acknowledged that the sites were an exceptional testimony to the unified Goryeo civilization as Buddhism gave way to neo-Confucianism in East Asia.

The advisory body recommended that the North Korean government develop tourism management and interpretation plans as well as a monitoring system to ensure coordination between the authorities.

By Bae Ji-sook (