UNESCO Site Visits

It is common knowledge that Korea is a country with a long and storied past.  Scattered amidst the sprawling cities and mist-covered mountains are countless elements of historical and cultural significance.  Several of these elements have been chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to join its prestigious list of World Heritage Sites or Intangible Cultural Heritage.  These sites or cultural elements were chosen by UNESCO for their cultural, historical, and scientific significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties.

Examining the lava flow lines in the Jeju Lava Tubes

One of my long-standing goals for my time here in Korea has been to visit all of these UNESCO sites.  This is the list of properties on the World Heritage Site List, and I have been fortunate enough to visit at least a key portion of each one of them:

·         Baekjae Historic Area
·         Changdeokgung Palace Complex
·         Dolmen Sites
·         Gyeongju Historic Area
·         Haeinsa Temple
·         Andong Hahoe Historic Village
·         Hwaseong Fortress
·         Jongmyo Shrine
·         Namhansanseong
·         Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty
·         Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
·         Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

Visiting these incredibly important sites has been a fantastic experience for me.  Not only have I learned a lot about the sites themselves; going to visit them has been a great way to see what makes Korea what it is today.

Visiting Haeinsa Temple and holding a woodblock of the Tripitaka Koreana

During my trips to these sites, I often spent some time familiarizing myself with the surrounding area.  I visited towns, took in the beauty of the land, and met many great people along the way.

I will say that one of my favorite experiences during my trips was diving with Jeju Haenyeo (women divers).  The culture of the Jeju Haenyeo is recognized by UNESCO as a part of its Intangible Culture Heritage list, for its importance in contributing to humanity’s cultural diversity.  My time with the Jeju Haenyeo was unforgettable, and it provided me with memories that I will never forget.

Learning to dive with the Jeju Haenyeo

There is an abundance of history and culture to be found at these UNESCO sites.  I encourage all of you to read more about them and, if possible, to visit them and experience the history for yourself. 

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites when you have time!

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