New announcement on potential world heritage sites in Seoul. An interesting selection, and completely unexpected.Historical sites of Baekje Kingdom
- Baekje tombs south of the Han River (Bangi-dong & Seokchon-dong) & Earthen Fortress.Jeong-dong: Old Legation Quarter URL URL URLDeoksugung PalaceDongmyo Shrine
- may include additional shrines/altars in SeoulYongsan-gu district
(Former Headquarters of the Imperial Japanese Army)
- Focus placed on Imperial Japanese structures and US Military buildingshttp://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/culture/2013/11/316_146839.htmlhttp://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20131125000830
I've been to all of them except Yongsan, because it is now a US Military Base. Though it will be vacated in the near future. Deoksugung is my second favorite palace in Seoul, behind Changdeokgung. It's importance is for very different reasons, however. I visited some of the areas in Jeong-dong, including both churches. Dongmyo is very interesting, but I visited on a rainy day and the structure was being restored, it was covered with scaffolding. So a return visit would be preferable.
My take, the Baekje sites in Seoul are way off the beaten path, and virtually unknown. I could only consider this as an extension to the Baekje Kingdom nomination that incorporates Gongju, Buyeo, and Iksan. There would be no purpose in a separate Seoul Baekje nomination.
To me it is unclear if Deoksugung Palace would be pursued independently from Jeong-dong district. In my estimation it would be a far stronger nomination to include the whole area as a nomination. The Old Legation quarter, along with Korea's early churches, and Deoksugung could make a case for world heritage inscription. Probably the strongest of these potential nominations. The Daehan Empire is a largely unrepresented part of Korean history (Gojong's tomb is part of the Joseon Royal Tombs), probably in part because of its shortened length and tragic history.
Dongmyo is interesting, and there are other shrine/altars to possibly include, but I just don't think there is enough to merit world heritage inscription.
I know little of Yongsan-gu, but this is perhaps the most interesting of all. So Korea may in fact nominate Japanese Colonial Buildings. If this indeed becomes a world heritage nomination included on the tentative list, there will inevitably be some very public debate in Korea about the merits of such a nomination.
Korea already has 15 Tentative nominations. Namhansanseong
is the latest nomination that will be evaluated in 2014. However, with these recent revelations and the previously indicated sites throughout the country, there could be an additional 12 nominations placed on Korea's tentative list. Perhaps, this is a preliminary list (not quite finalized) and only the most feasible sites will be chosen. Realistically, there are maybe 2-3 of these sites that have a good chance of inscription.