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Restoring the status of Seoul as a historic city through the registration of the Hanyang Castle Walls as a UNESCO World Heritage site

1. Making effort for the registration of Seoul City Wall in UNESCO World Heritage

  • The Seoul City Wall Center, the organization in charge, and Seoul City Wall Research Institute have been newly established.
  • Operation of the Committee for Promotion of Registration of Seoul City Wall as World Heritage sites (thus named temporarily), composed of experts, such as those of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
  • Establishment of cooperative relations with the central government and the Gyeonggi Provincial Government; SNS (social network service)-based publicizing
  • Drawing attention to the value as a world heritage
  • Academic survey/research and domestic and overseas seminar designed to meet registration criteria
  • Expression of positive commitment to the registration
  • Early establishment of a dedicated organization; relocation of the Residence of the Seoul Mayor (in connection with ICOMOS’s on-the-spot survey in early 2014)
Application for tentative list registration (Seoul Metropolitan Government → the Cultural Heritage Administration in January 2012) ⇒ Deliberation at the CHA (February 2012) ⇒ Tentative list registration (UNESCO in June 2012) ⇒ Application for registration as world heritage (February 2014) ⇒ ICOMOS’s on-the-site survey (April – September 2014) ⇒ Decision on registration (UNESCO World Heritage Committee in June 2015)

2. Setting up a plan for sustainable preservation, management and use of the Castle Walls that meet world-level requirements

  • Improving the basic environment for the preservation of the wall
  • Executing the development plan for the peripheries, removing scrub near the wall, and improving the scene lighting, etc.
  • Systematic section for preservation and arrangement, including enhancement of veracity (e.g. the use of traditional skills, shape, and materials used) concerning restored sections
  • Setting up participation programs linked with noted neighboring places (in Seongbuk-dong, Buam-dong, etc) and improvement of accessibility
Continued work for the restoration of Pungnaptoseong Fortress
  • Continued purchase of land within the areas designated as historic sites and the overhaul of neighboring areas: 42,368㎡out of 274,165㎡ remains uncompensated.
  • Installation of convenience facilities, using the site in Mirae Village in Pungnap-dong (2012 - 2014)
Taking comprehensive measures for preservation of Seoul, an ancient city
  • 1. Making a manual for preservation methods for each area based on precision surface surveys and importance of historic sites
  • 2. Phased promotion: Areas within the four main gates (2011); outer area of old Seoul (2012); other areas (2013)
  • Setting up measures for preservation of historic sites within the four main gates and outer area of old Seoul (within 4 km from the Castle Walls)
  • Precision surface surveys of historic sites within the four main gates and designing a method for their preservation (2010 ~ 2011)
  • Reflecting the result of the survey on the plan for urban management
  • Provision of online service in Seoul Metropolitan Government’s GIS portal system (March 2012)
  • Expansion of services concerning the outer area of old Seoul
the restoration of historic sites associated with the country’s heads of state and turning them into tourist destinations
  • Six houses i.e. Gyeonggyojang associated with Kim Koo, President of the Provisional Government of Korea; Ihwajang associated with Rhee Syngman; Jang Myeon (the first Prime Minister); and houses associated with Yun Bo-seon, Park Chung-hee, and Choi Gyu-ha)
  • Opened to the public: Gyeonggyojang (2012); Park Chung-hee’s/Choi Gyu-ha’s/ Jang Myeon’s (2013); Ihwajang/Yun Bo-seon’s (2015)
Preservation and development of intangible traditional culture
  • Excavation and designation as an intangible cultural heritage: 2 additional items (42 → 44)
  • Provision of financial support concerning expenses for inheritance-related education, exhibitions, performances, and presentations (42 cases)
  • Running programs in which ordinary people mix with those with cultural skills: skills demonstrations (1,383→3,432); hands-on experiences (26→144); educational sessions (520)
  • Providing support for disappearing traditional culture (about 10 items): individuals or cultural/art organizations associated with traditional dyeing and weaving skills, hanji (traditional Korean paper), metal handicraft, etc.

Turning cultural heritage into tourism resources
  • Namsangol Hanok (traditional Korean houses) Village (2 million visitors a year): seasonal events; the night of pungryu (a placid life of leisure) in Namsangol; demonstration of a traditional wedding ceremony; a village for hands-on experience of Korean traditional culture
  • Unhyeonggung Palace (200,000 visitors a year; the opening of the place to the public at night from 2012): representation of the wedding ceremony of King Gojong and his bride; royal court apparel fashion show
  • Expansion of programs in which ordinary people mix with those with cultural skills: intangible cultural heritage: Demonstrations i.e. 1,383→3,432; hands-on experiences (26→144); educational sessions (520)
  • The tolling of the Bosingak (Belfry) (100,000 visitors): on Independence Movement Day (March 1), National Liberation Day (August 15), and the eve of the New Year’s day
  • Royal guard changing ceremony; setting fire signal at the signal mound at the top of Namsan (Mountain) (1.7 million visitors a year)
  • Events representing what was held during the Joseon Period: a state exam for recruitment of high-ranking officials; Jongmyojeryeak (Jongmyo Royal Ancestral Confucian Memorial Ceremony Music, a rite for paying homage to royal ancestors); Sajik Daeje (a rite for praying for a good year); Hwangu Daeje (a rite for paying homage to royal ancestors);