Seven Buddhist mountain temples gain UNESCO World Heritage status

by KnowingKorea

On June 30th, during the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee, it was unanimously decided to add seven South Korean Buddhist temples that date back as far as the seventh century to the UNESCO World Heritage List, bringing the country’s total number of heritage sites to thirteen.

The seven temples are Beopju Temple on Mt. Songni, Tongdo Temple on Mt. Yeongchuk, Buseok Temple on Mt. Bonghwang, Bongjeong Temple on Mt. Cheondeung, Magok Temple on Mt. Taehwa, Seonam Temple on Mt. Jogye, and Daeheung Temple on Mt. Duryun.

An official from the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration said, "since their establishment, the temples have continued the tradition of Korean Buddhism that is both religious and deeply rooted in people's lives,” while a statement released by UNESCO emphasized “these mountain monasteries are sacred places, which have survived as living centers of faith and daily religious practice to the present."

As a result of the temples’ addition to the list, the committee suggested an improved maintenance plan to help them deal with increasing numbers of visitors, and asked that no new buildings be constructed without consulting them first.