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South Korea

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Author pikkle
#166 | Posted: 16 Apr 2016 00:02 
This is far from my field of expertise, but I'd just like to say I find the Nabawi Cathedral really interesting architecturally. I wish I could find some more info on it! These are definitely more of a fusion of vernaculars than what I saw of the Japanese t-list sites. The presence of Christianity in Korea (and among Koreans in the US and the diaspora) is much more enduring, as well.

Author winterkjm
#167 | Posted: 20 May 2016 03:16 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Collection of News:

Mireuksaji pagoda is expected to be completely restored by July 2017.

Daegokcheon Stream Petroglyphs - Postponed for the forceable future over conservation issues with Ulsan dam.

United Nations Command - Busan Provisional Capital and Refugee Trail will aim for 2020 and may be added to Korea's Tentative list in the next month.

Southwest Coast Tidal Flats - plans to submit a 2018 nomination dossier for world natural heritage inscription in 2019. First Korean natural nomination since Jeju Island was inscribed in 2007.

Official Website for Neo-Confucian Academies of the Joseon Dynasty

Author meltwaterfalls
#168 | Posted: 20 May 2016 12:54 
I missed the UN associated sites in Busan, I didn't really know what to do with my half day there, so feel it slightly wasted. Do you know what the refugee trail entails?

Oh well plenty of reason to return should it ever work its way to inscription. The Jjimjilbangs at Haeundae Beach were a great introduction to the country.

Author winterkjm
#169 | Posted: 21 May 2016 01:19 | Edited by: winterkjm 
From the current limited information available, a Busan Provincial Capital nomination would seemingly incorporate these 3 sites into a nomination. Gamcheon is perhaps the most interesting site to be included, its existence is a result of an influx of refugees who built this makeshift village on the hillsides of Busan. Now it has become quite scenic and a sought after destination for photographs. The UN Memorial Cemetery is also unique. The Donga Univseristy Museum tells the story of Busan during the Korean War and the history before and after the Busan Perimeter. Since it was the official seat of government for a time, if a nomination emerges surely it would be included.

UN Memorial Cemetery

Donga University Museum (Busan Provincial Government)

Gamcheon Cultural Village (Included in Refugee Trail)

Author elsslots
#170 | Posted: 21 May 2016 01:40 
Question for winterkjm:
I am considering a trip to Palau (Rock Islands WHS) at the end of December. I'd do a stop-over for some 5 days in Seoul to pick-up 'remaining' WHS. I know the temperature in Seoul can be around freezing that time of year, but will there be any limitations to visiting the sites?

The ones 'I still have to do' are:
- Namhansanseong
- Royal Joseon Tombs
- Baekje sites (was thinking of commuting to Iksan for a day)

Author winterkjm
#171 | Posted: 21 May 2016 02:22 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Namhansanseong is easily accessible, weather could be a major negative though. However, if there is a fresh layer of snow, the pictures might be stunning.

Subway: Get off at Sanseong Station (Seoul Subway Line 8), Exit No. 2. Take City Bus No. 9, and get off at Namhansanseong bus stop. (Travel Time : 20 Min., Interval of Buses: 20 Min.)

Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dyansty should be open all-year (as far as I know), but the question has been for a while now, which tombs allow what kind of access?

Baekje Historic Areas - Is there a specific reason for Iksan? Which is farther from Seoul than Buyeo/Gongju? If you want to see Mireuksa Pagoda, the largest and oldest in Korea, keep in mind the restoration work will finish July 2017. So by January perhaps expect half a pagoda (since its being painstakingly re-assembled). Iksan is also less accessible in regards to public transportation than Buyeo/Gongju.

Because of possible time and weather restraints, you might consider only visiting Gongju. You can visit the most famous Baekje tomb via superb replica, and then coldly go see the tumuli outside. A plus about visiting Gongju, is it would not be difficult regarding transportation, actually quite convenient and your experience would not necessarily be lessoned by weather. The Gongju National Museum provides great context and the replica of the actually tomb, located a short walk from the real thing was very interesting. The fortress in Gongju is a quite typical, but pleasant fortress. Few remains date from the Baekje period accept the raised earthen ramparts, which Joseon stone walls were built on. Regarding Buyeo, the sites while interesting, are not the key components of the Baekje Historic Areas. King Muryeong's tomb in Gongju and Mireuksa Temple Pagoda in Iksan are the only sites that demonstrate OUV (in my opinion), the additional properties add to the nomination, but are not particularly exceptional. View 7/8 components of the Baekje Historic Areas HERE.

- Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri (King Muryeong's Tomb)
- Gongsanseong Fortress

I will give you an updated report in July, since I will be in Korea between June 20th and July 5th. I should add 2-3 more Joseon tombs, most of the tentative list sites which I haven't yet visited, and about half of the rumored 30+ future nominations I posted here.

*Forgot to add, if you visit Gongju, Magoksa Temple is located nearby. Magoksa Temple is part of the Buddhist Mountain Temples nomination which will be evaluated for inscription in 2018.

Author elsslots
#172 | Posted: 21 May 2016 03:07 | Edited by: elsslots 
I will give you an updated report in July, since I will be in Korea between June 20th and July 5th. I should add 2-3 more Joseon tombs, most of the tentative list sites which I haven't yet visited, and about half of the rumored 30+ future nominations I posted here.

Looking forward to hear from you on those after July!

Author elsslots
#173 | Posted: 21 May 2016 14:31 | Edited by: elsslots 
I am considering a trip to Palau (Rock Islands WHS) at the end of December.

An update: I just booked for just under 2 weeks starting from Dec 27 (while the flights are still available & reasonable). Will be in Seoul for about 6 full days and 2 halves (plus 3 full days in Koror/Palau). Will consult you much more, winterkjm, when the date of departure gets closer.

Author meltwaterfalls
#174 | Posted: 21 May 2016 14:37 
Thanks for the response winterkjm, font of all knowledge on Korea as usual.

Els the Royal Tombs at Seolleung are very easy to pick up, they are in a park next to the metro station with the same name. But with five days I guess you could get out to see some of the more interesting ones out of Seoul.

Author winterkjm
#175 | Posted: 13 Jun 2016 11:10 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Candidate Nominations to be added in 2016/2017 (pending approval by CHA)
- all articles in English

Busan Provincial Capital

Hanseong Baekje [extenstion]

Ongoing Research (potential for future update)

Yongsan Park

Author winterkjm
#176 | Posted: 28 Jun 2016 06:31 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Quite busy at the moment visiting the last few sites in South Korea, before I return to CA.

I read this short article, and it seems to confirm 2 Seoul additions to the tentative list, perhaps soon. Hanseong Baekje [extension] and Sungkyunkwan (Munmyo). Hanseong Baekje is quite interesting, I found Seokhon-dong Tombs, Monchon Fortress, and Pungnap Fortress to be far better understood within the context of the (newly established, 2012) Seoul Baekje Museum located nearby in Olympic Park. In fact, since my last visit (2008, 2011) significant archaeology has taken place, and all locations have excellent signs (Korean, English) that explain each site. Two Earthen fortresses will surely not be your highlight in Seoul, but viewing the 3 sites together with the context of an excellent museum? I think this will actually be a nice contribution to the Baekje Historic Areas world heritage site. Though I think it a shame that many WHS travelers will be temped to check off the Seoul sites (if inscribed) instead of making the journey to Chungcheongnam-do for the more interesting sites that represent the pinnacle of Baekje culture. The Hanseong Baekje sites help complete the story, but they are not comparable to Mireuk-saji in Iksan, nor King Muryeong's Tomb in Gongju.

Sungkyunkwan (Munmyo) was a surprise, luckily a good one. I was thinking another small Confucian shrine; but instead I was impressed. It will be far more enjoyable for those individuals who visited Jongmyo and felt dissapointed. Munmyo has an exceptionally long History as the educational center in Seoul, indeed for the entire Joseon Dynasty. The shrine is quite large, but I found the student dormitories, massive Ginko trees, and its pleasant location (layout) to be its best characteristics. Its completely off the tourist map, its technically part of the modern Sungkyunkwan University campus and its more common to see graduates (robes, flowers, etc) taking pictures than seeing many tourists. The tag line of the University, is "Beyond 618 years of Excellence", while this claim is somewhat of a stretch, it is however unique! Maybe some of Seoul's Modern History sites will try in the future, but OUV was always going to be difficult with Seodaemun, Jeong-dong, and Yongsan.

Author winterkjm
#177 | Posted: 8 Jul 2016 02:47 | Edited by: winterkjm 
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.

Check out picture Seokchon-dong Baekje Tomb (1) and (3). The first picture was taken in 2008, the other in 2016. You may notice a new structure that towers over these ancient tombs! Its Lotte Tower, 6th tallest building in the world.

Author meltwaterfalls
#178 | Posted: 8 Jul 2016 15:35 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Seoul is really going to be the WHS capital of it gets inscribed.

I dropped the Olympic park in a futile attempt to find somewhere showing the Rugby World Cup final, alas I failed, but I feel happy that I have another reason to return to the city.

Though perhaps it is a little sad if it does gain inscription that visitors may not head out to the original locations in favour of an easy tick in a capital city (but maybe it is only a select band of people that plan travel in that way)

Author winterkjm
#179 | Posted: 8 Jul 2016 22:16 | Edited by: winterkjm 
I updated 3 very large serial nominations after additional visits. Being some of Korea's most complex nominations, several visits are needed. If you plan to visit the mountain temples or mountain fortresses, consider the duration of time needed (remoteness, small roads).

- Buddhist Temple Nomination (3 of 7) serial components (+2)
- Mountain Fortresses Nomination (3 of 7) serial components (+1)
- Seowon, Confucian Academies (2 of 9) serial components (+2)

Traditional Buddhist Mountain Temples of Korea (2018)

In my review HERE I covered some of the special aspects of the 3 temples I visited. Those temples are Beopjusa (Boeun), Buseoksa (Yeongju), and Magoksa (Gongju). I just missed out on Tongdosa, perhaps the most iconic of the nominated temples, because of a heavy downpour (start of rainy season). If any of you enjoyed Haiensa Temple, and thought it was a fantastic temple, ignoring a moment the priceless woodblock prints. If that is the case, you will love this nomination, because every temple is more beautiful and unique than Haeinsa (with the exception of the Tripitaka Koreana). Each temple included in this nomination is special, most include one or more national treasures. Every temple is very much active, the traditions are alive and well. No temple disappointed, and taken holistically this nomination is pretty stunning so far.

Ancient Mountain Fortresses in Central Korea (2020 or later)

In my review HERE I covered 3 fortresses in this central region of Korea. I usually enjoy most Korean fortresses, because its a mix of both history and hiking. Nevertheless, its starting to feel like the Netherlands with their water related nominations, and Korea with its fortresses. I enjoyed visiting all 3 of these fortresses (they deserve the moniker ancient), but unlike Seowon and to some extent Buddhist Temples, there are several fortifications well-represented on the Korean peninsula that are already inscribed. I also assume Seoul City Wall will be inscribed, either in 2017 or later. If this nomination does mover forward in 2020 or later, I hope its Korea's last fortification to pursue world heritage status.

Seowon, Neo-Confucian Academies of the Joseon Dynasty (withdrawn 2016, postponed to 2018 or after)

In my review HERE I cover 2 Seowon, but unlike the mountain temple and mountain fortress nominations, I feel I still need to visit more serial sites to fully appreciate this nomination. I thought its OUV has a strong chance, but ICOMOS had several concerns and recommendations. I did enjoy Sosu Seowon quite a bit, and there was an excellent museum within the grounds that contextualized the importance of Seowon academies. However, Seowon, like other Confucian sites are not "wow" visits. They are by design simple, elegant, places for study and ritual.

Author tonylag
#180 | Posted: 12 Jul 2016 05:20 
Thanks for all the valuable information here. I am now in South Korea since 1 st of july. I saw 10 world heritage sites until today. Tomorrow Gongju and the day after Suwon will complete this trip. I will post some reviews here when I am back in september.

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