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UNESCO World Heritage print


UNESCO World Heritage of Korea
UNECO 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 October 2010, Korea has nine 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 seven and eight of them respectively.
World Cultural Heritage Sites
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 nine 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).
World Natural Heritage Sites
UNESCO chooses would-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 Lava Tube System and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
An international assessment committee appointed by the UNESCO Secretary General reviews the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage 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 eight 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); and the Cheoyongmu Dance (2009).
Memory of the World Register
Korea possesses scrupulous historical records and archives that have become profoundly valuable in the upholding of traditions and reflecting upon the political, social, economical, and cultural situations of long ago. These documents have been quite well preserved and as such, are very precious assets to humanity.

The Korean documents declared 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).



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