The UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed Korea’s Namhansanseong, or literally meaning “South Han Mountain Fortress,” as a World Heritage site in June 2014.
Gyeonggi Province, which includes the capital Seoul, is responsible for the fortress site and believes more tourists will explore the province more widely thanks to the inscription. The fort is easily accessible from Seoul and this will have a knock on effect to the local economy giving it a timely boost thanks to the increased tourists.
Namhansanseong was designed as an emergency capital for the Joson Dynasty (1392-1910), in a mountainous site 25 kilometres south-east of Seoul.
Built and defended by Buddhist monk-soldiers, it could accommodate 4,000 people and fulfilled important administrative and military functions. Its earliest remains date from the 7th century, but it was rebuilt several times, notably in the early 17th century in anticipation of an attack from the Sino-Manchu Qing dynasty.
The city embodies a synthesis of the defensive military engineering concepts of the period, based on Chinese and Japanese influences, and changes in the art of fortification following the introduction from the West of weapons using gunpowder.
A city that has always been inhabited, and which was the provincial capital over a long period, it contains evidence of a variety of military, civil and religious and has become a symbol of Korean sovereignty.
With the addition of Namhansanseong to the World Heritage list, South Korea now possesses 11 sites on the list including the Jongmyo Shrine, Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple, Changdeokgung Palace, Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes, and Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.
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