TOP
History Lifestyle

Korea’s National treasures and all you need to know.

In Korea, there are 319 official national treasures as classified by the cultural heritage association. The definition of a national treasure is stated as an artefact, institution, or public figure regarded as being emblematic of a nation’s cultural heritage or identity. Here’s our list of official and unofficial treasures from this culture-rich county.

Kimchi –

It’s like maple syrup to the Canadians’, it’s the national dish of Korea. Kimchi has been around for thousands of years. It’s made with pickled cabbage, salt and other spices and then fermented. This process allows it to last very long periods of time without spoiling; stored in big jars or plastic containers in its own special fridge. Kimchi is very healthy, rich in vitamins and more importantly a very long-lasting addition to any Korean’s diet. If you haven’t already tried Kimchi, go try it now. Before you know it you’ll be craving it and then making your own. This delicious fermented dish is, to us and I am sure others would agree, a national treasure of Korea.

Sungnyemun Gate 숭례문 (Also known as Namdaemun Gate 남대문)

©Sungnyemun Gate, 14.02.2018, english.visitkorea.or.kr

Sungnyemun Gate was the first official national treasure to be confirmed in December 1962. It’s one of eight gates in the fortress wall that used to surround Seoul in the Joseon dynasty. Finished in 1398 this gate was built by command of King Taejo in his fourth year of rule, 1395. As with most things that are old, it has seen quite a lot of history. The gate was extensively damaged during the Korean war in 1950-1953 and repaired in 1961 around the time that it was given the status of National Treasure No.1. However, that was not to be the last of its repairs. In 2008 a fire broke out and ravaged the structure, and once again the Sungnyemun Gate had to be repaired. This time the gate would take 5 years to complete. It was finally completed in 2013 with a lot of fanfare. When you take that dream trip to Seoul don’t miss this National treasure.

 Changdeokgung Palace 창덕궁

©Changdeokgung, 14.02.2018, english.visitkorea.or.kr

As one of the five palaces built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung Palace was favoured by many. Built in 1405, it’s number 122 on the national treasure list and on the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation) list  for a reason. Unfortunately, the Palace was badly damaged in the Japanese invasion of 1592 and burnt down once again in 1623, however it remains one of the most well-preserved of the five palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old.

Seokguram Grotto 석굴암 and Bulguksa Temple 불국사

©Seokguram Grotto, 17.2.2018, www.korea.net

Seokguram is classified as number 24 national treasure and Bulgaksa Temple is on the UNESCO list. The grotto built in 774 hosts a seated carved Buddha and his guardians, it’s designed so that the Buddha receives the first rays of sun rising from the East Sea. The Temple built around the same time as the Grotto consists of prayer rooms, monuments and two stone pagodas. It also encompasses seven national treasures. Bulgaksa Temple is considered a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla dynasty. This one to check out!

Girls Generation (SNSD)

©GG, 17.02.2018, girlsgeneration.smtown.com/

Known as the ‘Nation’s Girl Group,’ Girls Generation deserves to be on our National treasure list too. Deemed as one of the prominent figures of the Korean wave they were the first Asian girl group to have five videos reach over 100 million views on Youtube. This eight-member girl group whose style is characterised as electropop/bubblegum pop just had their 10 year anniversary. After the successful comeback though it was released that Tiffany, Sooyoung and Seohyun were leaving, so even though this group’s future is unknown at the moment they are bound to be just as brilliant as usual. We love you SNSD!!

King Sejong 세종대왕

© KIng Sejong,13.03.2018, worldlang.boisestate.edu

King Sejong was the third son of King Taejong. He had interest in a lot of things including science, agriculture, technology and literature. He is most famously known as the creator of hangul, which is the native alphabet for the Korean language. Before Hangul was created people in Korea used classic Chinese characters, however, Chinese was harder for the lower classes to learn as education was not readily available to them. This was one of the reasons King Sejong the Great created it. The alphabet is based on a simplified diagram of the patterns made by the mouth, tongue and teeth. Without this creation Korea would not be the nation we know it today.

Want to experience more of Korean culture and music? Why not subscribe now to the Inspire Me Korea CULTURE BOX to receive a box of goodies sent to your door every month? We ship internationally~!

Feature Image source ©Seokguram Grotto, 17.2.2018, www.korea.net

 

Molly Goode

Unashamedly a giant nerd and bibliophile. Obsessing over Korea has become my life. <3

«

»

what do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us on Instagram!

  • The perfect companion to find secret and hidden places in all different cities in Korea ~ Pick up our Secret Travel Guide to South Korea here: 🇰🇷💕 https://inspiremekorea.com/shop/product/1627268436
  • Do you like 10CM? We highly recommend 'What The Spring 봄이 좋냐' the lyrics are really funny!
  • We've been loving Gary's Lonely Night! What's your favourite?
  • SNEAK PEEK! 2019 is the year of the pig and this piggy love sticker sheet with cute romantic messages will be perfect for decorating your notebook, bag, phone etc. Where will you stick these? 🐖  Comes in every LOVE MYSELF box - subscribing now: http://www.inspiremekorea.com/subscribe_box OR US and Canada:http://www.inspiremekorea.us/subscribe_boxx
  • Who else has been HOOKED on Memories of Alhambra? Have you caught up on all the episodes?
  • For us, this song is SISTAR Ma Boy!💕 What's yours?
  • Do you like markets? We have discovered so many cool and quirky markets such as Hongdae Free Market, traditional Gwangjang #Market as well as the market at Understanding Avenue in the picture! What kind of market do you like to visit?
  • What's your favourite songs by CRUSH?