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Iksan Historic Areas

Date of Submission: 11/01/2010
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Cultural Heritage Administration
State, Province or Region:
Iksan-si, Jeollabuk-do Province.
Ref.: 5490
Word File

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Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party



Wanggung-ri Cluste: N35 59 23 E127 03 18

Mireuksa Temple Site Cluster: N36 00 43 E127 01 51

Ipjeom-ri Cluster: N36 02 34 E127 01 58


The Iksan Historic Areas refers to a group of Baekje capital remains and royal tombs in the Wanggung-myeon and Ungpo-myeon area, Iksan-si, Jeollabuk-do.

The city of Iksan-si is located on a slightly flatland in the southwestern area of the Korean peninsula. Agriculture and maritime trade flourished in the area from prehistoric times due to the two rivers on the northern and southern sides of the city, the Geumgang River and Mangyeonggang River, and by the time King Mu of Baekje Kingdom came into power, the town had sufficient cultural and material resources to serve as a capital city, having been in close contact with more advanced civilizations such as China.

The capitals of ancient kingdoms were often located on big plains and connected to other towns via waterways: capitals would have palaces, royal tombs, religious facilities, and fortresses. Iksan's geography and cultural remains that have survived the vicissitudes of time show that it was equipped with various features of an ancient capital where a highly advanced culture flourished.

The Iksan Historic Areas features a series of remains from the days of the Baekje Kingdom including Wanggungri Palace site, Iksan Twin Royal Tombs, Jaeseoksa Temple site, Mireuksa Temple site, Sajasa Temple site, Yeondeungri site, Triple Stone Buddha from Taebongsa Temple site, lksantoseong Earthen Fortress, Jeotoseong Earthen Fortress, Mireuksanseong Fortress, Yonghwasanseong Fortress, Nangsansanseong Fortress, dwelling sites, and Baekje earthenware kiln sites. These remains are all evidence of an ancient capital.

Meanwhile, the tombs in lpjeomri Tumuli reflect the relationship between the capital and the province and how the local areas were ruled by the capital.

Justification of Outstanding Universal Value

The outstanding value of the site might be summed up as follows:

1. With the geographical features of the area maintaining its original integrity, the site can show us how the ancient capital was set up.

2. The site can be studied to show us what relations ancient civilizations had with each other and how international each of them were. The remains of toilet and garden, the architectural style of Mireuksa Temple, Chinese earthenware excavated from the Wanggungri Palace Site and lpjeomni Tumuli, and a statue from the Jeseoksa Temple site bear testimony to the active trade between Korea, China, and Japan in the early 7th century.

3. The site proves how unique and refined the Baekje people from the 7th century and their culture were. Mireuksa Temple site is the only example in the world where we have three pagodathree main hall structure in a Buddhist temple. The temple was one of the most important centers ofMireuk faith. The sarira reliquary excavated in the five-story Stone Pagoda in Wanggungri is an eloquent proof of the unequalled refinement of Baekje culture from the early 7th century.

4. The records of the remains in the lksan Historic Area can be found in a number of historic documents. Many of the sites are all mentioned or alluded to in historical or oral narratives such as King Mu chapter in History of the Three Kingdoms (Samguksagi), The Theophany of Gwaneum (Gwanse-eum eungheomgi), Geography and History of Goryeo (Goryeosa jiriji), Revised edition of the Culture and GeographicRecords (Sinjeungdonggukyeojiseungram), and The Geography of the Great East (Daedonyji).

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity


The site is the remains of the ancient Baekje capital that flourished in the early 7th century and has been in the process of excavation and extensive study since 1970s. The results from excavations of Wanggungni and lksan Twin Tomb are consistent with the records of historic books such as History of Three Kingdoms.

The entire site is designated as a National Historic Site and benefits from legal protection to maintain its original state.

The excavation of Baekje Fortresses including Mireuksanseong Fortress, lksantoseong Earthen Fortress, Jeotoseong Earthen Fortress, Nangsansanseong Fortress has shown that all the fortresses were built in the 7th century and is evidence to understanding the building system of Baekje capitals.



The remains in lksan Historic Areas are well preserved that it faithfully partrays the capital in its prime.

The foundation of the palace, palace walls, the sites of Buddhist temples, the interior of the twin tombs, and the remains of the fortress have been well preserved and thus bear a vivid testimony to the lifestyle, religious beliefs, and the composition of the capital of the Baekje Kingdom.

The cultural heritage in lksan Historic Site are well preserved and, in addition, show a great correspondence with historical and oral narratives about them, being a good specimen of an ancient walled capital.

Comparison with other similar properties

In the country

  • Gyeongju Historic Areas

Ancient capitals usually have palaces, state temples, fortresses, and royal tombs, and Gyeongju has been inscribed on the World Heritage list because it has all these monuments characteristic of the ancient capital of Silla Kingdom and Outstanding Universal Value for humanity.

lksan Historic Areas also have all the elements required of a capital in ancient times: the remains of palace, royal tombs, temples, and fortresses. But there are differences between the two historic areas. While Gyeongju only has historic mouments and relics from the Silla Kingdom alone, lksan Historic Areas show the evidence of the cultural exchange between Baekje with China and Japan, together with the unique traits of Baekje culture. Baekje had active international exchange with countries such as China and Japan, and shows the distinctive evolvement of culture through its heritage. Gyeongju and lksan are similar in that both of them have the common structures of an ancient capital, but lksan is distinguishable in terms of its cultural background, creativity and international characteristics.


Out of the country

Luoyang (China), Nara and Kyoto (Japan) are similar to lksan in that they were all capital cities of ancient kingdoms.

Luoyang was the capital of nine kingdoms from 770 RC., and has many well known heritage including the Longmen Grottoes, Xiangshin Temple, Guanlin Temple, Baiyuan Park, and Yongning Temple site.The wooden pagoda remaining in Yongning Temple site is known to be the model of the wooden pagoda in the middle court of Mireuksa Temple, and is an important tie representing the international exchange between the two kingdoms. However whereas Luoyang was witness to many different kingdoms over an extended period of time, lksan is testimony to a particular kingdom and its culture, with a high concentration of characteristic monuments and cultural artifacts of the Baekje Kingdom.

ln comparison with the serial sites of Kyoto and Nara in Japan, both cities are on the World Heritage list, but most of individual monuments composing the serial sites are religious sites. Out of the 8 individual sites ofNara, 7 are Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, and in Kyoto, 16 sites out of the 17 enlisted sites are religious sites. However in lksan, a wide spectrum of cultural heritage attesting to the city's status as a capital of a kingdom is all present, with temples, fortresses, and royal tombs. Also the architectural style of the monuments in lksan are also found in Todaiji and Kofukuji in Nara, showing the linkage of the two cultures through cultural exchange.