Exhibits include videos and images of Korean culture and tourism.
In 2007, UNESCO listed Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes as a World Natural Heritage in recognition of its landscape of surpassing natural beauty, unique volcanic landforms and ecology. Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, comprised of three sites - Mt. Halla Natural Reserve, the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System and Seongsan Sunrise Peak- is the first natural site in Korea to be placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Changdeokgung Palace is characterized by its structural and architectural aesthetics, which strike a pleasant harmony with the surrounding natural scenery, and was the most loved and longest residential palace by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. By adapting to the natural terrain, this nature-friendly palace took on an asymmetrical layout, as seen in the trapezoid-shaped front yard at Injeongmun Gate. The asymmetrical design of Changdeokgung Palace is representative of the architectural characteristics of palaces of the Joseon Dynasty.
This collection of 40 royal tombs was created and managed by the government in accordance with the strict Confucian practices and based on the traditional view of nature that is unique to the Korean people. The tombs are well preserved in their original forms, and the ancestral rituals are still performed here, just as they were in the past, which is what led to this site being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Andong Hahoe Village is well-known for being the best situated village in Korea, according to the principles of Feng Shui. It was visited by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and US President George Bush, and its annual Andong Mask Dance Festival is particularly famous. Another historic village, Gyeongju Yangdong Village is noted for its old tile-roofed houses, which are hundreds of years old, for the beauty of its low stonewall walkways, and for its efforts to preserve the traditional Korean culture.
The Korean people created the Tripitaka Koreana, the oldest and most complete collection of Buddhist scriptures about a thousand years ago. In particular, it is the most accurate of all Chinese translations of the Buddhist Tripitaka and has been perfectly preserved, which was made possible by the Janggyeong Panjeon, the depository for the Tripitaka. This depository was scientifically designed to provide ventilation and to control temperature and humidity, thus perfectly preserving the wood tables until today.
Baekje is one of the ancient countries of the Korean Peninsula from B.C. 18 to 660 C.E. It is located in the mid-western region of the Republic of Korea. The Baekje Historic Areas comprise a series of archaeological sites including the Gongsanseong fortress, Royal tombs at Songsan-ri in Gongju, Busosanseong fortress, Gwanbuk-ri Administrative buildings, Jeongnimsa Temple, Royal tombs in Neungsan-ri, and the Mireuksa Temple in Iksan. These properties represent the historical tracts of relationships among west Asian ancient kingdoms of Korea, China, and Japan from 5th to 7th century and conclusively stands for the architectural development and the spread of Buddhism.
Gyeongju was the capital of the Silla Dynasty, which ruled the Korean Peninsula for more than a thousand years, and is home to many relics and monuments that possess great importance and offer insights into the development of Korean architecture and Buddhism. Cheomseongdae Observatory, a major relic in the area, is the oldest astronomical observatory in Asia; while Daereungwon is a complex of tombs of kings, queens, and royal family members of the Silla Dynasty. Most famous among the Daereungwon royal tombs are Hwangnam Daechong Tomb and Cheonmachong Tomb.
The Confucian royal shrines of Jongmyo enshrine the mortuary tablets of kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. As such, Jongmyo possesses great historical value, which is why it is often referred to as the “Parthenon of the East.” Jeongjeon Hall, located within the grounds of the shrine, was the world’s largest wooden structure at the time of its construction. Created by the combined efforts of Joseon’s best engineers, Jongmyo shrine is a symbolic place that preserves and displays the legitimacy of the Joseon Dynasty. Every May, Jongmyo’s Grand Ancestral Rite is held on the grounds of Jongmyo Shrine.
Namhansanseong Fortress, often dubbed as the “impenetrable fortress” for its formidable, natural defensive barriers, served to protect Seoul in the South, while Bukhansanseong Fortress kept the city’s borders safe in the North. It is a typical fortification, equipped with outer and double-layered walls, and is considered the most important cultural ruin in understanding the functions and developmental changes of Korean fortresses. Having never been conquered throughout Korea’s history, Namhansanseong still displays advanced fortress construction techniques. It was designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2014 due to its great historical and cultural significance.
Bulguksa Temple is Korea’s most famous and widely recognized Buddhist temple. “Bulguk” means the “land of Buddha,” which means that Bulguksa Temple represents the “land of Buddha on Earth.” Located near the temple, Seokguram Grotto is the most beautiful Buddhist artwork in Korea. It reenacts Buddha’s moment of enlightenment using architecture and sculpture. Also, Seokguram is the world’s only artificial stone cave made of granite, which gives it both religious and aesthetic significance.
Suwon Hwaseong Fortress is considered the quintessence of fortress structures of the Joseon Dynasty. It is said that King Jeongjo marveled at the beauty and splendor of the fortress at the time of its construction. Elaborately designed by the brilliant Korean scientist Jeong Yak-Yong, the fortress is also famous for its particularly solid structure, whichwas built with an ideal combination of stone and brick.
Korea is home to 40 percent of the world’s stone dolmen, which are typical type of tomb used during the Bronze Age, and the Gochang megalithic dolmen site is the largest collection in the world. There are various shapes of dolmen here, such as table and go board dolmen, which vary in size from 10 to 300 tons. The recently discovered Hwasun dolmen site is particularly well preserved, while the Ganghwa dolmen site contains the largest and most remarkable of the table-shaped dolmen.