jump to the content

Gyeongju Historic Areas

Gyeongju Historic Areas

The Gyeongju Historic Areas contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the flowering, in particular between the 7th and 10th centuries, of this form of unique artistic expression.

Zones historiques de Gyeongju

Les zones historiques de Gyeongju contiennent une remarquable concentration d'exemples exceptionnels de l'art bouddhiste coréen sous forme de sculptures, de reliefs, de pagodes et de vestiges de temples et de palais datant de la période qui a vu s'épanouir cette forme d'expression artistique unique, en particulier du VIIe au Xe siècle.

مناطق كيونغ جو التاريخية

تحتوي مناطق كيونغ جو التاريخية على مجموعة كثيفة من النماذج الرائعة للفن البوذي الكوري تتمثل في منحوتات ونقوش ومعابد باغود برجية وآثار معابد وقصور عائدة الى مرحلة ازدهار هذا الشكل التعبيري الفريد الممتد خاصة من القرن السابع الى القرن العاشر.

source: UNESCO/ERI

庆州历史区

庆州历史区内有大量韩国佛教艺术的精品,包括雕刻、浮雕、佛塔以及许多从公元7世纪至10世纪佛教艺术鼎盛时期流传下来的庙宇和宫殿遗址。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Исторические территории Кёнджу

В районе Кёнджу сосредоточено множество замечательных памятников корейского буддийского искусства, которые представлены скульптурами, барельефами, пагодами, а также руинами храмов и дворцов, в основном относящихся к периоду VII-X вв.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Zonas históricas de Gyeongju

En las zonas históricas de Gyeongju hay una importante concentración de obras y monumentos extraordinarios del arte budista coreano –esculturas, relieves, pagodas y vestigios de templos y palacios– que datan en particular de los siglos VII a X, época del florecimiento de esta expresión estética única en su género.

source: UNESCO/ERI

慶州歴史地域

source: NFUAJ

Historische gebieden van Gyeongju

De historische gebieden van Gyeongju bevatten een opmerkelijke concentratie van Koreaanse boeddhistische kunst. Er zijn beelden, reliëfs, pagodes en overblijfselen van tempels en paleizen uit de hoogtijdagen – met name tussen de 7e en 10e eeuw – van deze vorm van artistieke expressie. Het Koreaanse schiereiland werd bijna 1.000 jaar door de Silla dynastie geregeerd, van 57 voor Christus tot 935 na Christus. De omgeving en de monumenten in en rond Gyeongju getuigen van de culturele verworvenheden van het gebied. De monumenten zijn van uitzonderlijke betekenis voor de ontwikkeling van de boeddhistische en seculiere architectuur in Korea.

Source: unesco.nl

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
Gyeongju Historic Areas © CRAterre
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Gyeongju Historic Areas contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the flowering culture of Silla dynasty, in particular between the 7th and 10th century. The Korean peninsula was ruled for almost 1,000 years (57 BCE – 935 CE) by the Silla dynasty, and the sites and monuments in and around Gyeongju bear outstanding testimony to its cultural achievements. These monuments are of exceptional significance in the development of Buddhist and secular architecture in Korea.

The property comprises five distinct areas situated in the centre of Gyeongju and in its suburbs.

The Mount Namsan Belt lies to the north of the city and covers 2,650 ha. The Buddhist monuments that have been excavated at the time of inscription include the ruins of 122 temples, 53 stone statues, 64 pagodas and 16 stone lanterns. Excavations have also revealed the remains of the pre-Buddhist natural and animistic cults of the region. 36 individual monuments, including rock-cut reliefs or engravings, stone images and heads, pagodas, royal tombs and tomb groups, wells, a group of stone banner poles, the Namsan Mountain Fortress, the Poseokjeong Pavilion site and the Seochulji Pond, exist within this area.

The Wolseong Belt includes the ruined palace site of Wolseong, the Gyerim woodland which legend identifies as the birthplace of the founder of the Gyeongju Kim clan, Anapji Pond, on the site of the ruined Imhaejeon Palace, and the Cheomseongdae Observatory.

The Tumuli Park Belt consists of three groups of Royal Tombs. Most of the mounds are domed, but some take the form of a half-moon or a gourd. They contain double wood coffins covered with gravel, and excavations have revealed rich grave goods of gold, glass, and fine ceramics. One of the earlier tombs yielded a mural painting of a winged horse on birch bark.

Hwangnyongsa Belt consists of two Buddhist temples, Bunhwangsa Temple and the ruins of Hwangnyongsa Temple. Hwangnyongsa, built to the order of King Jinheung (540 – 576 CE) was the largest temple ever built in Korea, covering some 72,500 m2. An 80 m high, nine-storey pagoda was added in 645 CE.  The pagoda in Bunhwangsa was built in 634 CE, using dressed block stones.

The Sanseong Fortress Belt consists of defensive facilities along the east coast and at other strategic points and includes the Myeonghwal Mountain Fortress.

 

Criterion (ii): The Gyeongju Historic Areas contain a numberof sites and monuments of exceptional significance in the development of Buddhist and secular architecture in Korea.

 

Criterion (iii): The Korean peninsula was ruled for nearly a thousand years by the Silla dynasty, and the sites and monuments in and around Gyeongju (including the holy mountain of Namsan) bear outstanding testimony to its cultural achievements.

 

Integrity

As a serial property, the individual areas together convey the value of Gyeongju as the capital city of the Silla Dynasty. The heritage areas, as a whole, serve as testimony to the 1,000-year history by providing evidence of the entirety of the culture, including the city layout, social structure and modes of living of the Silla dynasty. All necessary components to portray the values of the capital city and their original settings are included within the property.

The area surrounding the Mount Namsan and Sanseong Belts are rural and face little threat of development. However, the remaining portions of the historic areas are in urban districts. Building heights, design, encroachments from development and the growing number of vehicles within Gyeongju, all of which could interfere with the physical and visual integrity of the historic areas, should be strictly controlled. The function of the East Sea Southern Railway line running through the Wolseong Belt has been terminated.

 

Authenticity

The overall complex of the Gyeongju Historic Areas maintains a high degree of authenticity, as do the individual elements, which are largely archaeological sites and carvings. The various component elements of the historic areas have been maintained in situ in their original settings and the ruins of the temple and palace sites have been maintained so as not to interfere with their original form and layout. There has been little restoration of the architecture, sculptures, pagodas, tombs and fortresses, and the work that has been undertaken has been based on scientific evidence from excavation and other forms of research.

 

Protection and management requirements

Gyeongju Historic Areas consists of five different sub-areas of Mount Namsan, Wolseong, Tumuli, Hwangnyongsa Temple and the Fortress Belt, which are owned by the national government. The entire area of the property, including the numerous individual sites, has been designated as State-designated Cultural Heritage under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The entire area is also designated as a national park under the National Park Law. These measures severely restrict any form of development within the designated area. A 500 m buffer zone (Historic Cultural Environment Protection Area) has been established around each of the historic areas, under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. Within the buffer zones, all construction requires authorization. In order to protect the abundance of unearthed heritage, it is mandatory in Gyeongju City to conduct a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment before any construction takes place.

At the national level, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) is responsible for establishing and enforcing policies for protection and allocating financial resources for the conservation of Gyeongju Historic Areas. Gyeongju City is directly responsible for the more specific operations of conservation and management together with the Korea National Park Service, which is responsible for the management of Mount Namsan. Regular day-to-day monitoring is conducted at the sites, and in-depth professional monitoring is conducted on a 3-to-4 year basis.

Conservation work is conducted by Cultural Heritage Conservation Specialists who have passed the National Certification Exams in their individual fields of expertise. The CHA and Gyeongju City have continued to purchase the land surrounding the designated heritage areas to ensure better protection and connectivity between the areas. The East Sea Southern Railway will be completely removed by 2014. 

Management plans are in force for the Gyeongju Historic Areas, which address the preservation of the original status of the Historic Areas, preservation of the surrounding environment of the Historic Areas, use of the Gyeongju Historic Areas for the education of citizens and field studies for students. They provide for the establishment of long-term plans, the strengthening of measures against forest fires, floods, and other natural calamities, a scientific research program, including archaeological excavations, and a policy of seeking systematic investment and site-management proposals that are eco-friendly and consistent with world-class tourism policies. In addition, programs are in place for regular conservation and maintenance of sculptural and monumental antiquities and for selective restoration, based on thorough scientific research.

Regular monitoring is to be carried out on the open sites, to check for any illegal use of the land for unauthorized burials or shamanistic rites. Parking facilities are to be extended and marked paths laid out so as to prevent uncontrolled access to the land.

Long Description

The Gyeongju Historic Areas contain a remarkable concentration of outstanding examples of Korean Buddhist art, in the form of sculptures, reliefs, pagodas, and the remains of temples and palaces from the flowering, in particular between the 7th and 10th centuries, of this unique form of artistic expression. The Korean peninsula was ruled for almost 1,000 years by the Silla dynasty, and the sites and monuments in and around Gyeongju bear outstanding testimony to its cultural achievements. These monuments are of exceptional significance in the development of Buddhist and secular architecture in Korea.

There has been human settlement at and around the site of the present-day town of Gyeongju from the prehistoric period. The Silla clan became the rulers of the south-eastern part of the peninsula in 57 BCE. They chose Gyeongju as their capital. There followed a long period of internal struggles between rival kingdoms. With the help of the Tang dynasty in China, the Silla kingdom defeated its rivals in the 7th century and established its rule over most of the peninsula; this remained unchallenged until the beginning of the 10th century. The Silla rulers embellished their city with many public buildings, palaces, temples, and fortresses. Their tombs are to be found in the surroundings of the ancient city. Mahayana Buddhism spread from China into Korea during the course of the 7th century and was adopted by the Silla Kingdom. Mount Namsan, which had been venerated by the existing cults of Korea, became a Buddhist sacred mountain and attracted its adherents, who employed the most outstanding architects and craftsmen of the day to create temples, shrines, and monasteries. With the end of the Silla Kingdom, Korea underwent a further period of internal strife. It was unified again under Korean rule by the Joseon dynasty, which reigned until 1910. However, the country was invaded and devastated by the Japanese in the late 16th century and the Manchu in the 18th century, before being annexed by Japan in 1910. Throughout this long period, Gyeongju has maintained its urban identity, although many of its major buildings have suffered degradation and demolition.

There are three major components ('belts') that make up the Gyeongju Historic Areas; in addition, the World Heritage site covers Hwangnyongsa and the Sanseong Fortress.
Mount Namsan Belt lies to the north of Gyeongju City: there is a large number of prehistoric and historic remains within the designated area.

Wolseong Belt, in which the main monuments are the ruined palace site of Wolseong, the Gyerim woodland which legend identifies as the birthplace of the founder of the Gyeongju Kim clan, Anapji Pond, on the site of the ruined Imhaejeon Palace, and the Cheomseongdae Observatory.

Tumuli Park Belt, which consists of three groups of royal tombs. Most of the mounds are domed, but some take the form of a half-moon or a gourd. They contain double wooden coffins covered with gravel. Excavations have produced rich grave-goods of gold, glass and fine ceramics. One of the earlier tombs yielded a mural painting on birch bark of a winged horse.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

There has been human settlement at and around the site of the present-day town of Kyongju from the prehistoric period. The Shilla clan became the rulers of the south-eastern part of the peninsula in 57 BCE. They chose Kyongju as their capital. There followed a long period of internal struggles between rival kingdoms. With the help of the Tang Dynasty in China, the Shilla Kingdom defeated its rivals in the 7th century and established its rule over most of the peninsula; this remained unchallenged until the beginning of the 10th century.

The Shilla rulers embellished their city with many public buildings, palaces, temples, and fortresses. Their tombs are to be found in the surroundings of the ancient city.

Mahayana Buddhism spread from China into Korea during the course of the 7th century and was adopted by the Shilla Kingdom. Mount Namsan, which had been venerated by the existing cults of Korea, became a Buddhist sacred mountain and attracted its adherents, who employed the most outstanding architects and craftsmen of the day to create temples, shrines, and monasteries.

With the end of the Shilla Kingdom, Korea underwent a further period of internal strife. It was unified again under Korean rule by the Yi (Chosun) Dynasty, which reigned until 1910. However, the country was invaded and devastated by the Japanese in the late 16th century and the Manchu in the 18th century, before being annexed by Japan in 1910. Throughout this long period, Kyongju has maintained its urban identity, though many of its major buildings have suffered degradation and demolition.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation