With all 12 WHS covered, including the majority of tentative nominations, I decided early on I would visit some of the many rumored historic places vying for a place on South Korea's tentative list. I visited plenty that I don't feel are worth posting here, but there were some that I found very interesting and perhaps worthy of (at least) consideration. Christian Heritage and Martyr Sites of Korea
After Japan sought their Christian nomination, I started thinking about Korea. While Christianity was introduced far later in Korea than Japan, after a period of oppression it has now become the dominant religion of the country (it has surpassed Buddhism)
. In fact, 3 of the top 5 universities in Korea began as Christian schools. Christianity has dramatically altered the trajectory of Modern Korea once the Bible was translated into Hangul in 1887. While the early history of Christianity began with foreign missionaries, very quickly important Korean priests (like Andrew Taegon)
emerged and began evangelizing to the populace, promising fairness and equality to poverty stricken peasants who suffered under the Aristocratic Yangban. In a corrupt society, based on a strict class system, many Koreans eagerly and genuinely embraced Christianity's message. This obviously did not happen in Japan, nor any other country in North East Asia. There are dozens of historic churches/cathedrals in Korea that date between the 1880's to the 1920's which could be considered the early evangelization of the Korean people. Many of theses churches were built in Western style, but sometimes Korean elements like tiled roofing or hanok-styled architecture was included. Besides this fusion of Eastern and Western religious architecture, there is a layered history, in which most churches were built on the site where martyr's were murdered. Between the 1880's and 1910, the death throws of the Joseon Dynasty, Seoul was home to a large contingent of Priests, so much so that Western Priests petitioned King Gojong for a location to build a cemetery. This burial ground (next to a martyrdom site) became known as Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery. There is a great deal of guesswork in which Christian sites would be included in a nomination, but the sites pictured here are significant and very well could be part of any future nomination.Jeong-dong: Old Legation Quarter
This could be an interesting nomination, and probably one of the only intact urban historic districts in Korea. In the past, this neighborhood was also called the "European Quarter". I struggle with identifying what specific OUV could be argued, butI would not be surprised to see a nomination develop in the future.Busan Provisional Capital and Refugee Trail
During the Spring this aspiring nomination was written about quite a bit, while I find the approach and components interesting, I have doubts about the viability of such a nomination. I could not make it to the UN Cemetery, but I did visit the other 3 primary sites that would be included if the nomination moves forward. Gamcheon Village, where a significant population of the half-million refugees settled was a fascinating place to explore. Donga University Museum, which is actually an excellent museum (one of the best in Busan) is the original building used as the headquarters of the Korean Government during the War. The Provisional Capital Memorial Hall, is the former home/office of Syngman Rhee.Confucian Shrines of Seoul [Extension]
The articles that mentioned this aspiring nomination did not explicitly state a serial property, nor an extension. However, I find all 3 of these sites would struggle to demonstrate OUV alone, but together it has a coherent meaning linked to the traditions, rituals, and state ideology of Joseon. For those who found Jongmyo a little stale, these 3 sites might enrich any visitors understanding of Confucian Shrines in Korea.Ruins of the Hanseong-Baekje [Extension]
I revisited the aspiring nomination Hanseong Baekje. This is fairly certain to be added to Korea's Tentative List in the next year or two. It will likely include 3 sites, which collectively will be an extension to the Baekje Historic Areas WHS. It is an easy site to tick off if your in Seoul. If you have limited time, I would recommend focusing on key locations on your itinerary, but if you have some downtime, Seoul Baekje museum, paired with 1 or 2 of these sites tell the story of Early Baekje.