UNESCO World Heritage of Korea
UNESCO World Heritage refers to both cultural and natural heritage sites registered on the World Heritage List. In November 1972, UNESCO adopted the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" in the General Conference during its seventeenth session. Under the Convention, the World Heritage committee established a World Heritage List that includes cultural and natural heritage with outstanding value whose conservation is recognized to be in the interest of all humanity. As of December 2016, Korea has eleven cultural heritage sites and one natural heritage site.
Apart from this, UNESCO also has a separate program called 'Memory of the World' and 'Intangible Heritage of Humanity.' In Korea, there are thriteen and nineteen of them respectively.
Korea's Cultural Heritage conveys a genuine sentiment of simplicity and peacefulness. The historical background of the heritage is diverse, encompassing the history of Korea from ancient times (Dolmen sites) to the Joseon Dynasty. The sites embody a wide variety of values from tidy and neat artistic spirit to scientific rationality as witnessed in such traditional constructions as a royal palaces or temples.
A total of eleven Korean cultural sites are registered on the list of World Cultural Heritage Sites including Jongmyo Shrine (1995); Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks (1995); Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple (1995); Hwaseong Fortress (1997); Changdeokgung Palace Complex (1997); Gyeongju Historic Areas(2000); Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites (2000); Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (2009); and, finally, Historic Villages of Korea; Hahoe and Yangdong (2010); Namhansanseong Fortress (2014); Baekje Historic Areas (2015).
UNESCO chooses to-be World Natural Heritage Sites based on an objective evaluation of historic and academic worth, and then assists in ensuring their preservation.
The volcanic island of Jeju-do has an outstandingly beautiful natural environment that is significant for its geological features and ecological value. In 2007, Jeju-do Island was listed as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site under the name of "Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes." This includes Mount Hallasan Natural Reserve, the Geomunoreum Lave Tube System and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak.
An international assessment committee appointed by the UNESCO Secretary General reviews the list of World Intangible Heritage of Humanity every two years with the mission of safeguarding and protecting such intangible heritage as language, culture, music, dance, games, myths, rituals, customs and handicrafts.
A total of nineteen examples of Korean intangible heritage are on the list, including: The Royal Ancestral Ritual in the Jongmyo Shrine and its Music (2001); The Pansori Epic Chant (2003); The Gangneung Danoje Festival (2005); Ganggangsullae Dance (2009); Namsadang-nori Performance (2009); Yeongsanjae Buddhist Ritual (2009); Jeju Chilmeoridang-yeongdeung-gut Shaman Ritual (2009); the Cheoyongmu Dance (2009); Gagok, lyric song cycles accompanied by an orchestra (2010); Falconry, a living human heritage (2010); Daemokjang, traditional wooden architecture (2010); Weaving of Mosi (fine ramie) in the Hansan region (2011); Taekkyeon, a traditional Korean martial art (2011), Jultagi, tightrope walking (2011); Arirang, lyrical folk song in the Republic of Korea (2012); Kimjang, making and sharing kimchi (2013); Nongak, Community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea (2014); Juldarigi, traditional ritual wishing for a good harvest, a tug-of-war game (2015); ); and Culture of Jeju Haenyeo, women divers of Jeju Island (2016).
The Korean documents declared as the UNESCO Memory of the World include the Hunminjeongeum Manuscript(1997); Joseonwangjosillok, the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty (1997); Seungjeongwon Ilgi, the Diaries of the Royal Secretariat (2001); Jikji Simche Yojeol, the Second Volume of "Anthology of Great Buddhist Priests' Zen Teachings" (2001); Printing Woodblocks of the Tripitaka Koreana and Miscellaneous Buddhist Scriptures (2007); Uigwe, the Royal Protocols of the Joseon Dynasty (2007); and Donguibogam, the Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine (2009); Ilseongnok (2011); Arresting the demonstrating students 2011); Nanjung Ilgi: War Diary of Admiral Yi Sun-sin (2013); Archives of Saemaul Undong (New Community Movement) (2013); Confucian Printing Woodblocks in Korea (2015); and The Archives of the KBS Special Live Broadcast “Finding Dispersed Families” (2015).