LIFE&STYLE

Baekje historic sites likely to win UNESCO heritage nod

By Lee Woo-young
  • Published : Jun 29, 2015 - 17:18
  • Updated : Jun 29, 2015 - 17:18
Archaeological Site in Wanggung-ri (Cultural Heritage Administration)
A vast historic site that belongs to the ancient kingdom of Baekje is expected to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, becoming Korea’s 12th item on the coveted list.

A motion to inscribe it is scheduled for a final vote at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee on July 4 in Germany, following a recommendation from the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration said.

“It’s highly likely that the site will join the list of World Heritage Sites. In the past 10 years, most of the recommendations made by the ICOMOS were accepted by the World Heritage Committee,” said Lee Cheol-kyu, a CHA spokesperson.

The nominated site includes eight properties such as royal palaces and fortresses, tombs, temple sites and other archaeological sites built over the different periods of Baekje, spanning nearly 700 years from B.C. 18 to A.D. 660. They are scattered from Gongju and Buyeo in South Chungcheong Province to Iksan in North Jeolla Province. 

Mireuksa Temple Site (Cultural Heritage Administration)

In its report to the committee, ICOMOS experts described the Baekje sites as ”a vivid testimony to the active exchange and trade during ancient times among China, Korea and Japan.” They exhibit the architectural developments of Baekje, which adopted the architectural culture of China, developed it in its own style and passed it on to Japan. It also serves as evidence of the spread of Buddhism in the ancient time, they said.

Korea currently has a total of 11 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul, the ancient city of Gyeongju and the volcanic island of Jejudo. The most recent addition was Namhansanseong, a mountain fortress on the southern outskirts of Seoul which was inscribed to the list in June 2014.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)