- Ministry News
“Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea” Inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List
*Photo : Daeheungsa Temple (Source : The Steering Committee for the Nomination of the Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea as UNESCO World Heritage )
1. At its 42nd session (June 24-July 4, Manama, Bahrain), the UNESCO World Heritage Committee decided to inscribe “Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea” on the World Heritage List on June 30 (local time).
o “Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea” is composed of seven temples established from the 7th to 9th centuries: Tongdosa Temple (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do), Buseoksa Temple (Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do), Bongjeongsa Temple (Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do), Beopjusa Temple (Boeun, Chungcheongbuk-do), Magoksa Temple (Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do), Seonamsa Temple (Suncheon, Jeollanam-do), and Daeheungsa Temple (Haenam, Jeollanam-do).
2. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), an Advisory Body to the World Heritage Committee, initially recommended inscribing only four temples (Tongdosa Temple, Buseoksa Temple, Beopjusa Temple, and Daeheungsa Temple) out of the seven temples for which the ROK side applied for World Heritage Site designation. However, as a result of active diplomatic efforts of the ROK delegation, including the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO (Ambassador Lee Byong-hyun), in the World Heritage Center and the members of the World Heritage Committee, all of the seven temples successfully made it onto the World Heritage List in the discussion on inscription held on June 30 (local time) after 17 of the 21 members of the World Heritage Committee jointly signed and 20 members voiced support for the proposal made by China, a member of the Committee, on inscription of all of the seven temples on the List.
o The head of the ROK delegation to the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee*, and other members of the delegation from the Foreign Ministry, and the Cultural Heritage Administration, as well as experts from the private sector actively engaged in activities to garner support on the ground to make sure that all of the seven temples are inscribed on the World Heritage List.
* The ROK delegation to the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee is led by Ambassador to UNESCO Lee Byong-hyun from June 24 to 28, and by Administrator of the Cultural Heritage Administration Kim Jong-jin from June 29 to July 1.
o Since the ROK submitted its application for inscription in January 2017, Ambassador Lee Byong-hyun has made efforts to give related information to the members of the World Heritage Committee and its specialized agency. In particular, as chair of the Executive Board of UNESCO (2017-2019), Ambassador Lee has overseen activities to garner support since May, contributing to the successful inscription of the seven temples on the World Heritage List.
3. The inscription of “Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea” on the World Heritage List is seen as a result of the international community’s recognition of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)* that the “seven temples’ continuity to the present since establishment in the 7th-9th centuries, and a long history of Korean Buddhism” have, as well as close collaboration between relevant government agencies, including the Foreign Ministry and the Cultural Heritage Administration, and experts in the private sector.
* OUV (Outstanding Universal Value): criteria that need to be met to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List
4. The inscription of “Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea” on the World Heritage List brings the number of World Heritage Sites in the ROK to 13 (12 cultural sites, and 1 natural site). The ROK will continue efforts to let the world know the excellence of its heritage, and as a country leading international discussions in the world heritage area, it will continue to increase its contributions in the area.
o The ROK has held international meetings on world heritage interpretation, including an international conference on the 30th anniversary of the ROK’s accession to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention (May 2, 2018, Seoul), every year since 2016, building and strengthening networks with the members of the World Heritage Committee and experts.
※ World Heritage Sites in the ROK: Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple (1995), Haeinsa Temple Janggyeong Panjeon, the Depositories for the Tripitaka Koreana Woodblocks (1995), Jongmyo Shrine (1995), Changdeokgung Palace Complex (1997), Hwaseong Fortress (1997), Gyeongju Historic Areas (2000), Gochang, Hwasun and Ganghwa Dolmen Sites (2000), Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes (2007), Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (2009), Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong (2010), Namhansanseong (2014), Baekje Historic Areas (2015), and Sansa, Buddhist Mountain Monasteries in Korea (2018)
* unofficial translation