Monday, May 24, 2010

UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Seoul, 7 more candidates for the World Heritage List

You've seen the banners downtown, and on the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism : between May 25 and 28, 2010, Seoul hosts the 2nd World Conference on Arts Education*. UNESCO Director-General Irina Georgieva arrived ahead of the conference, right after the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, to discuss all fields of cooperation between her organization and Korea, beyond the topics raised this week by experts from 190 countries and the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures.

The occasion, maybe, to talk about recent submissions on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage. We've seen how active Korea is in that field, and in 2010, the country submitted no fewer than 7 new properties :

=> 2 submissions for ancient mountain fortresses ("sanseong") :

. Namhansanseong in Gwangju (Gyeonggi-do)

. Chungcheongbuk-do Ancient Mountain Fortresses : Samnyeonsanseong (Boeun-gun), Sangdangsanseong (Cheongju), Chungjusanseong (Chungju), Deokjusanseong (Jecheon), Ondalsanseong (Danyang), Jangmisanseong (Chungju), and Mireuksanseong (Geosan).

=> 2 submissions in favor of the Baekje heritage, encompassing city-level clusters, very much like Gyeongju (and once more honoring Korea's great funeral tradition) :

. Gongju and Buyeo Historic Sites : Baekje heritage in Gongju-si and Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do.

. Iksan Historic Areas : remains and royal tombs of an old Baekje capital in the Wanggung-myeon and Ungpo-myeon area.

=> 1 'prehistoric' submission :

. Bangudae Petroglyphs (Daegokcheon Stream Petroglyphs) in Daegok-ri, Ulsan. Entering the prestigious list could accelerate the process of protection for these priceless prehistoric relics, whose very existence is threatened by a dam. Korea managed to put its dolmens in the list, but is still waiting for its fossilized dinosaurs.

=> 2 'nature / environment' submissions :

. Southwestern Coast Tidal Flats : probably ignited by the 2008 RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands held in Korea, and the realization that Korean coastal wetlands and their habitats are endangered, this submission focuses on Jeolla-do sites (Gochang-gun and Buan-gun in Jeollabuk-do, Suncheon, Boseong-gun, Muan-gun, Sinan-gun in Jeollanam-do). The Louisiana oil spill tragedy may help the cause. And the listing would be a perfect answer to
the Saemangum / Ariul mess.

. Jeollanam-do Salterns in Yeonggwang-gun (I guess the group of salters at the end of Yeomsam-myeon peninsula), and Sinan-gun (there's a big cluster on the islands of Bigeumdo and Dochodo). Beyond the sites, the submission focuses on the local techniques.

5 other sites remain on South Korea's tentative list, to which 6 North Korean candidates could be added, all submitted in 2000 (Goguryo Tombs remain NK's only assets listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List).

Seoul Village 2010

* see
UNESCO website and the Korean website (

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