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Capital Fortifications of Hanyang : Hangyangdoseong Capital City Wall, Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress and Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall

Date de soumission : 23/11/2012
Critères: (iii)(iv)
Catégorie :
Soumis par :
Délégation Permanente de la République de Corée auprès de l'UNESCO
État, province ou région :
Seoul Metropolitan City and Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province
Ref.: 6652

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Les noms des biens figurent dans la langue dans laquelle les États parties les ont soumis.


Hanyangdoseong 1

Jongno-gu, Seodaemun-gu and Seongbuk-gu Districts, Seoul City

N37°35'35.09" E126°58'25.24"

Hanyangdoseong 2

Seongbuk-gu and Jongno-gu Districts, Seoul City

N37°34'50.07" E127°0'31.39"

Hanyangdoseong 3

Jongno-gu District, Seoul City

N37°34'16.07" E127°0'35.03"

Hanyangdoseong 4

Jongno-gu District, Seoul City



Hanyangdoseong 5

Junggu-District, Seoul City

N37°33'51.86" E127°0'36.09"

Hanyangdoseong 6

Jung-gu and Yongsan-gu Districts, Seoul City

N37°33'5.64" E126°59'15.69"

Hanyangdoseong 7

Jung-gu District, Seoul City

N37°33'36.02" E126°58'31.13"

Hanyangdoseong 8

Jongno-gu and Seodaemun-gu Districts, Seoul City

N37°34'50.69" E126°57'27.93"

Bukhansanseong 1

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province / Jongno-gu, Seongbuk-gu, Gangbuk-gu and Eunpyeong-gu Distrcts, Seoul City

N37°38'25.91" E126°58'38.09"

Bukhansanseong 2

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'54.90" E126°58'17.41"

Bukhansanseong 3

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'37.13" E126°58'59.86"

Bukhansanseong 4

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'8.59" E126°58'21.01"

Bukhansanseong 5

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°39'10.14" E126°58'11.51"

Bukhansanseong 6

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°39'4.42" E126°58'20.92"

Bukhansanseong 7

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'16.15" E126°58'47.83"

Bukhansanseong 8

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'8.23" E126°58'35.57"

Bukhansanseong 9

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'25.91" E126°58'38.09"

Bukhansanseong 10

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'44.86" E126°58'35.57"

Bukhansanseong 11

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'32.10" E126°58'16.84"

Bukhansanseong 12

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'29.01" E126°58'45.89"

Bukhansanseong 13

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'41.70" E126°58'38.21"

Bukhansanseong 14

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'41.27" E126°58'32.53"

Bukhansanseong 15

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°39'12.19" E126°57'35.16"

Bukhansanseong 16

Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province

N37°38'31.33" E126°58'45.09"

Tangchundaeseong 1

Jongno-gu, Seodaemun-gu and Eunpyeong-gu Districts, Seoul City and Deokyang-gu District, Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province




The nominated property comprises fortifications that were completed in the 18th century. These fortifications were built to defend Hanyang, the capital of the Joseon Dynasty. Hanyang, located in the center of the Korean Peninsula, was formed to be the core of politics and economy for the new dynasty when it was founded in the 14th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the dynasty faced invasions from Japan and China while being constantly threatened by foreign naval forces and artillery attacks. As a result, a new defense system was determined to be needed to protect the dynasty by strengthening its central military command. The Joseon rebuilt Hanyangdoseong, a city wall surrounding its capital, and constructed two other fortifications called Bukhansanseong and Tangchundaeseong north of the capital city. The nominated property thus consists of these three fortifications that inherit the following traditions: 1. structure of the Korean Peninsula’s traditional capital fortifications, and 2. fortress construction technique utilizing natural topography. In this regard, the property illustrates the development stages of the capital defense system which is composed of the 18th century's a capital city wall, a defense fortress on the mountain and a fortress blocking the enemy’s route.

As a serial property, the nominated property constitutes three sites, the Hanyangdoseong Capital City Wall, Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress and Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall. These three fortresses are located in Seoul and in the mountainous area north of the capital. The Hanyangdoseong Capital City Wall was first built in the 14th century. To strengthen the capital defense system in the 18th century, the Joseon Dynasty not only reinforced the city wall but also constructed a defending fortress on a mountain located 5km north from the capital. Lastly, the capital defense system was completed by adding a third fortress to block the enemy's route between the capital city wall and the mountainous fortress. These three fortifications were combined to form an integrated defense system. The nominated property, Hanyangdoseong Capital City Wall (18.6km), Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress (11.6km) and Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall (5.1km), forms a total of 35.3 kilometers in length along with local flatland and ridges. It is the largest existing capital fortification in East Asia.

Hanyangdoseong Capital City Wall is located at the center of Seoul City. The wall measures 18.6km in length, including both stone walls and natural bedrocks. Currently, 14.5km of the total wall is visible with naked eye. The fortress is currently protected and managed as a historic site. In the 20th century, survey work was conducted to ascertain its original wall lines. Moreover, regular excavation projects have led to finding additional remains of the fortress and designating them as Korea’s state Cultural Heritage.

Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress was built to protect local residents around the fortress during emergency. It stretches out to Seoul Metropolitan City and Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province. Out of the 11.6km in total length, 8.6km was built in stones and 3.0km is natural bedrocks. Surveys have identified fortress walls, lookouts, gates and guard posts. Starting with the restoration of the Great West Gate in 1958, repair and maintenance work has been done on a consistent basis. Additional sites were also found in inside of the fortress: a king's emergency palace, a maintenance building, a Buddhist monk soldiers' temple (Residing monks in the temple not only maintained the fortress but also protected the fortress from any foreign invasion.), a storage for weapons and other military supplies. The excavation work for the emergency palace site had been completed and it is currently undergoing maintenance. Excavation and maintenance efforts have also been facilitated for the other sites on a constant basis but more work still needs to be done.

Designed to block the enemy’s route, Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall is found between Hanyandoseong Capital City Wall and Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress. It is located in Seoul City and Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province. This 5.1km long defense wall can be divided into two zones. One is 4.38km long stone wall and earthen wall. The other one is a 0.72km natural high ridge zone. From the Hyangnobong Mountain Peak to Munsubong Mountain Peak, the fortress is linked to Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress through natural bedrocks. Its Hongjimun Gate and Ogansumun Gate were restored in 1977 after their collapse caused by flooding in 1921. Inside of the Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall, the Chongyungcheong Office, a general management office for Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall and Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress, was located along with large granaries called Pyeongchang and Seonhyechang. However, these facilities do not exist currently.

The Korean Peninsula’s capital defense system had developed into a dual structure of flatland and mountain fortresses by which people could take refuge in the nearest mountain fortress in time of emergency. Inheriting the tradition of the Korean Peninsula’s capital fortifications from ancient times, the nominated property grew into a creative capital defense system where not only the rulers but also local residents could take refuge. The nominated property illustrates the development of fortress construction technology and the sophisticated fortress management system in the 18th century. It reflects the traditional fortress construction method utilizing natural topography and small stone masonry, a technique that was standardized in the early 18th century. Such technology influenced the fortress construction in other regions of the country later on. Furthermore, military camps and artisans took the lead in building the fortifications, thus resulting in the professionalism and systematization of the fortress management structure. Meanwhile, ancient documents on the nominated property, building sites and epigraph (i.e. texts inscribed on stones) provide concrete information on the management and operation of the fortifications in the 18th century. A variety of records left by the Joseon Dynasty not only contribute to the authenticity and integrity of the nominated property but they also support its outstanding universal value. 

The area around 20 meters from the fortress wall of the nominated property is determined as a Cultural Heritage Zone. Its surrounding area is also designated as a Historic and Cultural Environment Preservation Zone. These zones are being protected in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. In addition, mid to long term protection plans are coordinated by Seoul Metropolitan Government, Gyeonggi-do Provincial Government and Goyang City Government for comprehensive maintenance, conservation, and utilization of the property. The preservation effort for the zones continues with the local authorities as well.

They actively share the value of the property with citizens through diverse programs of education and heritage utilization. They also make ceaseless effort to support the livelihood of residents living in the vicinity of the nominated property and the activities of private organizations.

Justification de la Valeur Universelle Exceptionnelle

Criterion (iii): The nominated property comprises a large-scale group of fortifications designed to defend the capital. It bears an exceptional testimony to a capital fortification; in time of emergency, both rulers and residents of the capital were able to take refuge in the mountain fortress connected to the capital, ensuring self-defense. The nominated property was managed through a sophisticated human resource system led by the central military command. Such a system mobilized Buddhist monk soldiers, artisans and citizens so that they could participate in the construction and management of the fortifications. This is proven by historic sites inside the fortifications, texts inscribed on stones and diverse documents. 

Criterion (iv): The nominated property inherited a dual defense system of flatland and mountain fortresses which had widely spread in East Asia in ancient times. It adapted the ancient system to the international circumstances and capital defense strategies in the 18th century, and evolved into a capital defense fortification, featuring the capital fortress and mountain fortress connected through a defense wall. It also grew into the Joseon’s integrated defense system by means of the standardized small stone masonry and construction method utilizing natural topography. The nominated property is thus an outstanding example which comprehensively illustrates a type of dual-structured capital fortifications and the creative development of fortress construction technology in the 18th-century Korean Peninsula.

Déclarations d’authenticité et/ou d’intégrité


The authenticity of the nominated property is proven by its defense installations (e.g. fortress wall, gate and guard post) and its historic sites (e.g. emergency palace, military camp quarter, Buddhist monk soldiers’ temple, management office and storage facility), from the perspective of their shapes, designs, materials, substances, traditional technology, management system, locations and surroundings. The nominated property’s fortress wall, auxiliary installations and gates have been conserved in their original forms. Some of them remain as archaeological sites which confirm the locations and sizes of the installations. These sites are protected under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act and the Act on Protection and Inspection of Buried Cultural Heritage. Since its initial construction, the nominated property has always been located on the current site. Part of the property was damaged due to urban expansion and wars but it went through repair and maintenance under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. Today, 31.2km of the fortress wall still remains, which enables us to confirm the outstanding universal value of the nominated property in terms of its type as a capital fortification, fortress construction technology and management system.

The materials used for the nominated property’s fortress walls and gates maintain their authenticity. Seoul Metropolitan Government, Gyeonggi-do Provincial Government and Goyang City Government have scrutinized the materials used for fortress construction by means of archaeological and lithological analysis. In particular, the local authorities have analyzed the materials and production sites of fortress stones for each component of the nominated property, thus building a database of such information. In the nominated property, fortifications were built with natural slopes; the stones were piled just on one side. In addition, the space between the artificial and natural walls was filled with earth and rubble. The local authorities make utmost effort to conserve the original state of the fortifications and they conducted maintenance work only if repair is indispensable. In such cases, they draw up concrete plans, which need to be approved by the Cultural Heritage Administration, and technicians specializing in the repair of cultural heritages are only permitted to use the original materials and traditional fortress construction techniques for repairs. The topography and surroundings of the nominated property are managed in a sustainable manner, thus ensuring their authenticity.


The nominated property constitutes a large group of fortifications whose total length reaches 35.3km. Hanyangdoseong Capital City Wall, Bukhansanseong Mountain Fortress and Tangchundaeseong Defense Wall, which form the nominated property, still have the sites of a capital fortification (e.g. fortress wall, gate and ditch) and those of a mountain fortress for refuge (e.g. emergency palace, storage facility and military camp quarter). The nominated property inherited the Korean Peninsula’s tradition of fortress construction technology which consists of a capital fortress surrounded by an additional fortification utilizing natural topography (e.g. ridge and bedrock). It illustrates the development stages of the 18th-century fortress construction technology which was completed amid rapidly changing international circumstances.

Part of the nominated property was integrated into roads and houses in the process of urbanization in the early 20th century. It also suffered damage from the Korean War (1950-1953). Nevertheless, restoration projects starting from the 1950s enabled the nominated property to regain its original state. Today, it is protected and managed under the Korean law and is subject to repair and maintenance projects led by the Korean government on a regular basis. As for the zones where the fortress wall is missing, the authorities confirmed the exact location of the missing wall through geophysical analysis and excavation-based research. They then marked off the location so that citizens could see where the wall used to be.

Comparaison avec d’autres biens similaires

Korea has approximately 400 fortifications, but it does not have many capital fortresses. In the country, a capital fortification usually has a dual structure composed of flatland and mountain fortresses. Representative examples of this dual structure are shown in ancient Silla’s Wolseong Fortress and Myonghwal Mountain Fortress and ancient Baekje’s Sabiseong and Busosanseong Fortress.

The nominated property clearly differentiates itself from other Korean capital fortifications in terms of its shape, construction technology, operation, and management. It used to have Hanyangdoseong, a capital city wall which connected mountain ridges surrounding the capital Hanyang in the late 14th century. Following large-scale international wars in the 16th and 17th centuries, Namhanseong, a mountain fortress which had functioned as refuge, faced its limitations because people had to cross the Hangang River to get there. To ensure that the residents of the capital city promptly take refuge, the Joseon Dynasty built Bukhansanseong, a mountain fortress for defense, and Tangchundaeseong, a defense wall blocking the enemy’s route.

Regarding the structure of fortresses, the capital fortifications that existed before the nominated property had flatland and mountain fortresses separated from each other. In contrast, the nominated property physically connected these two types of fortresses while inheriting the tradition of dual-structured fortifications. As for fortress construction technology, Korean fortifications developed from earthen walls to stone walls, which were then standardized around the 18th century in the form of small stone masonry. In the case of Bukhansanseong, a long fortress wall of 11.6 km was built in just six months as a result of combining two methods: 1. traditional construction method utilizing natural topography and 2. standardized small stone masonry developed through the reconstruction of Hanyangdoseong Capital City Wall. Indeed, small stone masonry contributed to shortening the construction period and to ensuring architectural professionalism and better technology. Stones used for the wall of Namhansanseong Fortress range from corn kernel-shaped ones to rectangular ones. On the other hand, the Hwaseong Fortress has installations for artillery and those built of gray bricks. Therefore, these two fortifications are different from the nominated property. From the perspective of operation and management, the nominated property still has texts inscribed on stones which provide diverse types of information on fortress construction (e.g. construction period, construction zones, foremen, artisans, commands in charge and trimming and inspection of fortress stones). Furthermore, records kept by Joseon’s three commands and other relevant documents (e.g. Suseongyuneum and Bukhanji) describe how the dynasty’s military commands, Buddhist monks and residents of the capital were mobilized in time of emergency and how military supplies were managed and used.

To summarize, the nominated property’s structure, construction method and management system visibly distinguish themselves from those of other Korean fortifications such as Sabiseong and Busosanseong Fortress (Archaeological Site in Gwanbuk-ri and Busosanseong Fortress), Wolsong Fortress, Myonghwal Mountain Fortress, Hwaseong Fortress, Namhansanseong Fortress, Gongsanseong Fortress and Naganeupseong, which have been inscribed either on the World Heritage List or on the Tentative List.

Other countries began to surround their towns with fortifications even before Christ. Those countries included Mesopotamia, India and China, which had developed centralized governance systems. At that time, cities were built in locations favorable for politics, economy and transport. In addition, the countries also built fortifications or fortified cities along mountain ranges in order to prevent foreign invasions. Most of the large cities that functioned as imperial centers had flatland fortresses. Such central cities include Ur (first city in Mesopotamia) and Babylonia as well as the Indus region’s Kot Diji and Mohenjo-daro. In China, the first large cities surrounded by fortifications include Yinxu (capital of the Shang dynasty), Haojing (capital of the Zhou dynasty) and Xianyang (capital of the Qin dynasty).

In Europe, motte-and-bailey fortifications were built after the fall of the Roman Empire. These fortifications were constructed on low hills or on artificial slopes. In the 13th century, European countries adopted a dual structure composed of fortifications on mountain ridges and flatland ones surrounding cities. After the introduction of artillery, European fortifications developed into those improving the defensive power of fortress walls (e.g. bastion fort). Meanwhile, countries also built fortifications in border areas in an attempt to be prepared for wars. Representative examples of fortifications defending national boundaries include the Great Wall of China, fortifications in Derbent, Hadrian's Wall and the Fortifications of Vauban.

In East Asia, capital fortifications adopted a strategy to defend capitals or strategic points before they were influenced by the Chinese capital fortress system. Right after its founding in the northeastern area of China, the kingdom of Goguryeo built a capital fortress in a rugged mountainous area (e.g. Onyeosanseong). Later on, the kingdom transferred its capital to Guknaeseong, a flatland fortress. During a war, it constructed Hwandosanseong, a mountain fortress for refuge, and completed its fortifications defending the capital. Goguryeo maintained this defense structure even after moving its capital to Pyeongyang in the Korean Peninsula, by building fortresses such as Anhakgungseong and Daeseongsanseong. The kingdom of Balhae, which was founded in today’s northeastern area in China, also had dual-structured capital fortifications at the beginning by connecting Odongseong (capital fortress), Seongsanjasanseong (mountain fortress) and Tongguryeongsanseong (mountain fortress). However, as Balhae constructed in the mid-8th century Shangjing Longquanfu, a city influenced by the Chinese capital fortress system, the kingdom didn’t have the structure linking flatland and mountain fortresses anymore. Later on, such a dual capital defense system almost disappeared in the northeastern area of China. Capital fortifications influenced by the Chinese capital fortress system are also found in Vietnam’s Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi and Imperial City of Hue. Vietnam constructed capital fortresses on flatlands and in the 19th century, it adopted Vauban’s system from Europe in order to strengthen the defense of fortifications.

In Japan, the Yamato Kingship first built a capital on a flatland surrounded by hills. The country’s capital fortification isn’t surrounded by a wall; only its royal palace has a high wall and moat. At the beginning, its capital fortress was equipped with a defense system by relying on the rugged mountains in the vicinity. In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Dazaifu, local administrative center of the Yamato Kingship, constructed a flatland fortress called Mizuki in preparation for threats from inland while building rear mountain fortresses for refuge called Onojo and Kiijo. Japan temporarily maintained such a capital defense structure connecting capital and mountain fortresses but after the 8th century, the country came to have flatland capital fortifications and local strategic points influenced by the Tang dynasty’s Chang'an. Amid the conflict of the Northern and Southern dynasties, Japan briefly had mountain fortresses but during the early Warring States period, it turned to modern fortifications centered around tenshu. In ancient times, East Asian countries adopted a dual structure of capital defense connecting flatland and mountain fortresses but after the heyday of Tang, such a defense system disappeared in most countries.

Unlike fortifications in other countries such as Mesopotamia, European countries, India, China, Vietnam and Japan, the nominated property maintained and developed its defense structure connecting capital and mountain fortresses until the 18th century. In particular, the nominated property differentiates itself from fortifications in other East Asian countries; while these countries did not have the dual defense system of flatland and mountain fortresses after the 8th century, the nominated property preserved and strengthened such a system.