Update: 26/01/2015 09:11:38
Namhansanseong is a temporary Royal palace in the war against agression of Man Chau in 1636 as well as a unique Royal step-over palace for the emergency situation in the world.

Namhansanseong was recognized as the 75 National Historical Relic by the Korean government dated on 1st January, 1963 rightafter the Law of Cultural Monument Preservation came into effect. This wall is about 8,000m long. It was built in the South  to protect the capital of Seoul along with the Bukhansanseong.

In June, 2014, Namhansanseong was acknowledged as the World Heritage by UNESCO.

In this occasion, we would like to introduce followingly the article of the Ph.D Jeon Jong Deok- the director of  Namhansanseong Culture and Tourism Initiatives on the outstanding universal values of this unique world heritage.

In 2012, Namhansanseong Culture and Tourism Initiatives (NCTI) which is in charge of managing and preserving Namhansanseong has established the cooperation relationship with Hue Monuments Conservation Center to share and exchange experience in term of culture and heritage preservation. Recently, the Namhansanseong Journal Vol.1 in early 2014 of NCTI posted a writing named  “The Geomancy in Hue Urban Arrangememt” writen by Ph.D Phan Thanh Hai on the particularities of Hue Heritage Sites.

1. History of Namhansanseong

Located 25km southeast from the center of the capital city of Seoul, the mountain fortress city of Namhansanseong sits 480m above sea level aligning itself with the ridges of the mountain to maximize its defensive capacity. The fortress encompassing approx.12km in length protects a vast area utilized as an emergency capital city of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea (1392-1910). With the basis of fortress architecture of East Asia, the fortress embodies the broad exchange between the four countries (Joseon of Korea, Azuchi-Momoyama Period of Japan, Ming and Qing China) especially in the 16th~18th centuries through the continuous wars. The technical development of weaponry and armaments during this period which saw the use of gun powder in military warfare imported from Europe also greatly influenced the architecture and layout of the fortress. Namhansanseong portrays how the various theories of defense mechanisms in Korea were put to form by combining the everyday living environment with defense objectives, embodies the evidence of how Buddhism played an influential role in protecting the State and the fortress became a symbol of sovereignty in Korea.

Namhansanseong old map in Donggukyeodo-after 1753 in Joseon Dynasty. (Housed in the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at Seoul National University)

 2. OUV of Namhansanseong

Namhansanseong is a cultural heritage that has throughout its grounds the two criteria which UNESCO requires:

(ii) Namhansanseong is an excellent example embodying the interchange of technological advances in fortress construction and weaponry in East Asia going through international wars. Namhansanseong is a unique fortress city with the purpose of functioning as an emergency capital for the protection of sovereignty and independence of Joseon.

(iv) The walls and facilities utilizing the rugged terrain embody the technological developments of fortress architecture that has been accumulated in Korea from the 7th century to the 19th century.

Aerial view of Namhansansoeng Aerial view of Namhansanseong Emergency Palace

 3. Conservation management of Namhansanseong

- Namhansanseong Culture and Tourism Initiatives (NCTI) is the main body that is responsible for on-site conservation and management of Namhansanseong itself and other cultural heritage within the fortress of Namhansanseong. NCTI takes full charge of implementing various projects, which include establishing short-to-long term conservation plans, daily maintenances, repairs, excavations, researches and surveys, education, and monitoring. The NCTI has a proactive role in structuring future projects and work for Namhansanseong based on their daily activities of conservation and management. Following the policy guidelines set out by the Cultural Heritage Administration, the NCTI draws up yearly, mid-term and long-term plans of conservation projects which are deemed necessary for the maintenance of Namhansanseong. The plans together with the proposed amounts of budget are submitted to Gyeonggi-do Province and CHA for determination and approval. Otherwise, Namhansanseong Provincial Park Office (NPPO) is responsible for managing and monitoring ecology and visitor facilities of Namhansanseong, which is part of the larger Namhansanseong Provincial Park. Observing the National Park Act, NPPO consults closely with NCTI in conducting its duties.

Office for Namhansanseong Culture & Tourism Initiatives

4. World Heritage Nomination Process of Namhansanseong

The fortress is evidence of struggling to survive and enduring a painful history caused by the geopolitical power structure of East.

Centered on these said values, Gyeonggi-do Province and Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation, in their efforts to inscribe Namhansanseong into the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage, have been pursuing various projects and conducting research and investigations. As a result, in February 2011, the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea selected Namhansanseong as a priority candidate, from the tentative list of national heritage in Korea, in order to encourage it to become a UNESCO; as such, the Nomination dossier of Namhansanseong was submitted in January 2013 and the technical evaluation was carried out in 2014 by ICOMOS experts. During the 38th World Heritage Committee (Doha, Qatar, June 2014), a decision will be made on whether to inscribe Namhansanseong on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

During the 38th World Heritage Committee (Doha, Qatar, June 2014),  Namhansanseong was acknowledges as the World Heritage by UNESCO.


JEON, Jong Deok (Director, Namhansanseong Culture & Tourism Initiatives)