56.7 F
Los Angeles
Sunday, May 26, 2024

Korea’s Cultural heritage hit hard by torrential rains

Must read

- Advertisement -

Gongsanseong Fortress located in Gongju, South Chungcheong, is seen submerged in water, leaving only the roof of Manharu pavilion exposed on Saturday. [YONHAP]
Gongsanseong Fortress located in Gongju, South Chungcheong, is seen submerged in water, leaving only the roof of Manharu pavilion exposed on Saturday. [YONHAP]

Korea’s cultural heritage continues to be battered by torrential rains sweeping across the country. The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) announced Tuesday that a total of 41 sites designated as national heritage have been damaged by heavy downpours, which include one National Treasure, two Treasures and 20 Historic Sites. One of the sites is a Unesco-designated World Heritage.

Hoeryongpo Meandering Stream in, Yecheon, North Gyeongsang, is seen submerged in water on Sunday. [CHA]
Hoeryongpo Meandering Stream in, Yecheon, North Gyeongsang, is seen submerged in water on Sunday. [CHA]

The damage has been mostly contained to the central and southern regions of the peninsula with Yeongju in South Gyeongsang, Gongju in South Chingcheong, and Yeonggwang in South Jeolla being hit particularly hard.  

Yeongju’s National Treasure, Josadang Shrine, located at a Buddhist temple on Mount Bonghwa, suffered damage when the heavy rain caused the soil to erode at the temple’s main entrance, the CHA said. The shrine, first built in 1377 during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and later repaired in 1490 and 1493, is known for its detailed structures despite its small size.

Soil has eroded inside a graveyard known as the Tomb of Ten Thousand Patriotic Martyrs in Namwon, North Jeolla, on Tuesday. [CHA]
Soil has eroded inside a graveyard known as the Tomb of Ten Thousand Patriotic Martyrs in Namwon, North Jeolla, on Tuesday. [CHA]

On Tuesday, the soil was found to have eroded inside a graveyard known as the Tomb of Ten Thousand Patriotic Martyrs in Namwon, North Jeolla. This graveyard holds the bodies of those who died during the battle with the invading Japanese force in defense of Namwon Fortress in 1597.

A photograph in which the Gongsanseong Fortress, located in Gonju, South Chungcheong, is seen almost completely submerged with only the roof of the Manharu Pavilion managing to stay above water, quickly spread online over the weekend. According to the CHA, the flooding was due to the swelling of the nearby Geumgang River due to heavy rains. The administration claimed that restoration work will be necessary. Since Saturday, CHA officials have been taking emergency measures, such as installing safety fences and covering the ground with tarp in order to protect against Wednesday’s forecasted rainstorms.

Gongsanseong Fortress, built some 1,500 years ago presumably during King Dongseong’s reign, which was between 479 to 501, is designated a Historic Site and is a part of Baekje Historic Areas, one of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites. The fortress walls stretch for 2,660 meters (8,727 feet) and consist of both a 735-meter earthen wall and a 1,925-meter stone wall. Archaeologists suggest that the wall was mainly an earthen material during the time of Baekje (18 B.C. to A.D. 660), but was later reconstructed using stone in later periods.

The two Treasures that sustained damage are a three-story Stone Pagoda in Sincheon-ri of Yeonggwang, South Jeolla and a Stone Seated Buddha in Cheongnyong Temple in Yecheon, South Gyeongsang.

Three-story Stone Pagoda in Sincheon-ri Yeonggwang, South Jeolla, on Sunday [CHA]
Three-story Stone Pagoda in Sincheon-ri Yeonggwang, South Jeolla, on Sunday [CHA]

A part of the pagoda was damaged due to the soil eroding underneath the stone seated Buddha.

The three-story stone pagoda, estimated to have been built during the early Goryeo Dynasty, is known to have followed the style of pagodas built during the Unified Silla (668-935) period, judging from the number of pillars on the platform. The stone-seated Buddha was constructed during the Unified Silla period.

A wall of a hanok (Korean traditional house) is damaged in Handong Hahoe Village in Andong, North Gyeongsang, on Sunday. [CHA]
A wall of a hanok (Korean traditional house) is damaged in Handong Hahoe Village in Andong, North Gyeongsang, on Sunday. [CHA]

The CHA announced that it would continue to cooperate with local governments to minimize the damage as heavy rain is expected to continue until next week and added that it will begin restoration works in the regions where the rain has abated.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye@joongang.co.kr]

7,452 Followers
Follow