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Updated by Joanna James on Jan 12, 2020
Headline for Top 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit in South Korea
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to Visit in South Korea

South Korea houses approximately 14 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, out of which 13 are classified as Cultural sites and the other, a natural heritage site. With at least another 10 tentative sites, South Korea is undoubtedly the world's most UNESCO-dense country! Have you heard of these top 5 UNESCO sites?

1

Changdeokgung Palace Complex

This is one of the many grand palaces that you are bound to come across in South Korea. It is one out of five that was originally built for the Joseon Dynasty. It is located within a park and is one of the most distinguished structures throughout the country. Within the palace complex, there are a couple of other structures including the Dohwamun Gate, Geumcheongyo Bridge, Injeongjeon Hall and the Juhamnu Pavillion to name a few.

2

Namhansanseong

Namhansanseng is one of South Korea's most unique fortresses seeing as it was designed merely as an emergency capital for the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) should the city of Seoul stand the risk of falling. Built and defended by Buddhist monk-soldiers, it is designed to easily accommodate at least 4000 people simultaneously. Sitting amidst a stunning mountainous region, this fortress city uses its natural placement to its defensive advantage and hosts a number of buildings that are a testament to its military, civil as well as religious versatility. The city showcases evidence of defensive military engineering concepts, drawing upon Chinese and Japanese influences which appears to have significantly changed down the line following the introduction of gunpowder-driven weapons from the West. One of the biggest highlights of the fortress is the Janggyeongsa Temple which happens to be the only preserved temple originally built by the Buddhist army that defended and resided at the fortress back in the day.

3

Sansa- The Buddhist Mountain Monasteries

The 'Sansa' commonly refers to the Buddhist mountain monasteries that are located throughout the Southern Provinces of the Korean Peninsula. The spatial arrangement of the 7 temples comprising of the Sansa, are appear to have been established throughout the 7th to 9th centuries and each bear architectural design that is unique to Korea including such as the 'Madang' (an open courtyard) flanked by four buildings which comprise of the Buddha Hall, Pavilion, Lecture Hall and Dormitory. On top of being a collectively remarkable set of attractions, the temples each on their own host a number of remarkable structures, objects, documents as well as shrines.

4

Baekje Historic Areas

This site is the latest addition to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in South Korea. It entails a group of monuments scattered over three cities- namely Buyeo, Iksan and Gongju. These monuments are each linked to the Baekje Kingdom that peeked during 18 BC. This property hosts 8 archaeological sites in total, which showcase the unique culture of the ancient kingdom of Korea. These monuments include the fortress of Gongsanseong and Busosanseong, the royal tombs of Songsan-ri and Neungsan-ri and the temples of Jeongnimsa and Mireuksa as well as the city wall of Naseong and the palace of Wanggung-ri. The three cities are located within an hour's distance from each other- meaning that you can cover visiting all the areas within the span of a few days. With the hospitality sector in the country undergoing full-bloom many International Hotel Group labels such as the renowned Minor Hotels brand are looking to debut in the country guaranteeing an outstanding travelling experience for all visitors.

5

Jeju Volcanic Island

This is South Korea's only natural UNESCO World Heritage site and dons a hotspot of biodiversity encompassing volcanic peaks, waterfalls and beaches and hence can be called the ideal destination for any nature lovers! The island sits just off South Korea's Southern Coast and is famous for its incredible lava tubes which make up one of the world's largest multi-colored volcanic cave systems thanks to its rich mineral compounds.