Bulguksa Temple
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Korea’s UNESCO Sites Span the Centuries
Korea’s long history may be new to many visitors, and its nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites provide fascinating introductions. They range from the prehistoric dolmens at Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa—the country is home to more of these ancient funerary monuments than any other country—to the Joseon dynasty tombs (the most recent, of Empress Sunjeong, dates from 1966). The 17th-century Hwaseong Fortress’s gates and walls are remarkably intact, while at the Jongmyo Shrine—the world’s oldest Confucian royal shrine—ritual ceremonies with music and dance performances are carried out several times throughout the year, as they have been since the 14th century. Hahoe and Yangdong, two villages that embody Confucian design and which also date from the 14th century, are still living towns. In Korea, history isn’t locked inside dusty display cases; it’s at your fingertips when you scramble up castle walls or wander through centuries-old neighborhoods.
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