Villages make World Heritage List

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Villages make World Heritage List

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The World Heritage Committee placed two southern Korean villages, Hahoe and Yangdong, on Unesco’s World Heritage List in recognition of their preservation of Confucian cultural values.

The WHC added seven sites to the World Heritage List yesterday, including Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where 67 nuclear tests were carried out from 1946 to 1958, including the first hydrogen bomb explosion in 1952; the Tabriz bazaar in Iran; the Jantar Mantar astronomical observation site in India; and 11 penal sites in Australia where convicts were transported in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Hahoe and Yangdong are two villages where yangban, or the aristocratic class of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), lived. The committee described the villages as “two of the most representative historic clan villages in the Republic of Korea.”

“Their layout and location - sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields - reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty,” the committee wrote on its Web site. “The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets.”

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The landscapes of Hahoe village, top, and Yangdong village, above, in North Gyeongsang. The two historic clan villages from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) were put on the World Heritage List yesterday. [YONHAP]


Hahoe in Andong and Yangdong in Gyeongju, both located in North Gyeongsang, were founded between the 14th and 15th centuries. The sites are renowned for preserving the lifestyle of traditional Korean clan families, and there are clan houses, study halls, Confucian academies for learning and thatched-roofed houses for commoners.

The U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth II visited Hahoe on a trip to Korea in 1999 and was served a traditional Korean meal to celebrate her birthday.

“I’m very pleased that historic villages of Korea, Hahoe and Yangdong, are designated as Unesco World Heritage Sites,” said Yi Kun-moo, head of the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, who attended the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Brazil. “The Korean government will do the best it can do to preserve the scenery surrounding Hahoe and Yangdong.”

With the latest additions, Korea now has 10 sites on the World Heritage List. The Joseon royal tombs made the list last June.


By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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