South Korean Heritage – Five Grand Sites
Can you think of a tiny country with only fifty million inhabitants, encapsulating within its depths civilized history dating back 3000 years. Well South Korea it is. The little country has so much to tempt tourists that you wouldn’t have even thought of it.
Beyond its sophisticated and ultra modern airports, the country possesses a whopping 10 UNESCO world heritage sites. Such a small country yet it has so much of historical treasures to boast of.
South Korea’s prized heritage can be explored by going to the huge National Museum of Korea or visiting a myriad of palaces and temples, and by enjoying the delicacies that its varied cuisine has to offer.
The first time I visited South Korea was only in transit on my way back to Hong Kong from visiting New York. To say that I was impressed and disappointed wouldn’t be enough. I was impressed by how gorgeous the airport was! And depressed that I wasn’t getting the opportunity that trip to actually visit the country! It wouldn’t be for a little time later that I’d get the chance and I was completely taken back by the country.
The people, the sites, the food, the heritage, the culture, the skiing, the list goes on! And as mentioned above, it’s not a big country, but a proud country, with a people that feel at a loss for their brethren in the north.
South Korean Heritage sites are certainly to see these unbelievably amazing places and definitely worth seeing.
Please help to share these wonderful experiences with me.
Here is a glimpse at five of the ten magnificent heritage sites.
1. Suwon Hwaseong Fortress
Acquiring its status as a world heritage site in 1997, this is a fortress wall, a bit low-key in structure yet preserved in pristine condition. The wall is around 5 km in circumference and you can spend your entire day here.
The wall is lighted up at night, making the late night views the best of all. Near the north east gate, there is an archery range as well which is quite amazing. At the center of the fortress there is small palace, with fantastic tile art, and a really huge Golden Buddha.
2. Changdeokgung Palace
This South Korean Heritage site is one of the five prime palaces in Seoul, and is known to be Joseon Dynasty’s longest lasting palace. It is undoubtedly one of South Korea’s best historical gems. The palace’s throne hall is just splendid with gold sculptures on its ceiling and its incredible architecture. Once you enter the palace, you will feel like you have taken a step back in time, so glorious it is.
3. Ganghwa, Gochang and Hwasun Dolmen Sites
South Korea is believed to have 40% of all the world’s dolmen sites. Dolmen sites are stone-era tombs, and present proofs of organized ancient humanity.These dolmens are symbolic of the Megalithic culture; the stones of the tombs are prized because they mark tombs of the ruling elite of that time period.
4. Jongmyo Shrine
You will be surprised to find out that as claimed by UNESCO, the Jongmyo Shrine has intrinsically maintained its tradition as beautifully, as no other culture has been able to do.
The Jongmyo Shrine, built to honor the spirits of its fallen kings, has honored fallen kings for around six hundred years. The tablets preserved in the shrine, and displayed once every year, document the achievements of every King of the Joseon Dynasty. This truly makes it one of the South Korean Heritage sites to see!
5. Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
Also known as “Hawaii of Korea’ due to its majestic beauty, this is the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Korea. Jeju Volcanic Island, last erupted around a thousand years ago, and its main attraction, is the dead Hallasan Mountain. What makes the island so scenic is the astounding set of lava tubes lying at the place where real lava used to fuel the volcano. People climb up the Hallasan Mountain in almost five hours to witness a stunning crater lake where deer drink water from.
The UN site has amazing information on this incredible place!
All the South Korean heritage sites are truly amazing and will embrace you in their awe. If you go to South Korea, you can’t miss out on these. Each one is worth at least a day to see so when you go, take your time and take it all in!