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UPDATED: 16:32, July 02, 2004
China's ancient Koguryo Kingdom site added to World Heritage List
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Photo:The 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee Thursday, July 1, unanimously agreed to inscribe the capital city and tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom of China onto the World Heritage List
The 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee Thursday, July 1, unanimously agreed to inscribe the capital city and tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom of China onto the World Heritage List
The site of capital cities and tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom of China has been inscribed into the World Heritage List, sources close to the ongoing 28th session of the World Heritage Committee said Thursday in Suzhou.

Although the committee has not issued any related statement, reliable sources confirmed that the new heritage property consisted of Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City, Wandu Mountain City, Haotaiwang Stele and 38 tombs for either Koguryo Kings or noble people.

So far, China has got 30 heritage sites, with natural, cultural and mixed properties included, written into the World Heritage List.

Wei Cuncheng, a professor of the Jilin University and expert on Koguryo issue, said, "Koguryo was a regime established by ethnic groups in northern China some 2,000 years ago, representing an important part of Chinese culture."

Wang Yongze, deputy director of the Culture Department of Jilin Province, said, "We shall strive to better take care of the heritage so that more people can have a chance to enjoy the ancient Koguryo culture."

Built in 37 BC, the Wunu Mountain City located in Huanren County of northeast China's Liaoning Province was the first mountain capital of the Koguryo Kingdom for defense.

Archeologists believe the unique system of capital cities represented by Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City heavily influenced the construction of later capitals built by the Koguryo regime, while the Koguryo tombs provided outstanding examples of the evolution of piled-stone and earthen tomb construction, as well as the then human creative genius in wall paintings and structures.

The "Haotaiwang Stele", erected some 1,500 years ago, with 1,775 Chinese characters inscribed, has shown the impact of Chinese culture on the Koguryo who did not develop their own writing.

Photo:The picture taken on June 15, 2004 shows the General's Tomb of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom, five kilometers northeast of the city of Ji'an, northeast China's Jilin Province. The stone tomb is known as the
The picture taken on June 15, 2004 shows the General's Tomb of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom, five kilometers northeast of the city of Ji'an, northeast China's Jilin Province. The stone tomb is known as the "Pyramid in the East".
Established in 37 BC and destroyed in 668 AD, the Koguryo Kingdom lasted for 705 years and played a big role in the development of Northeast Asia.

Backgrounder: Koguryo mountain city & fresco
The ancient Koguryo Kingdom site comprises Guonei City, Wandu City and over 100 ancient tombs bearing exquisite murals.

Koguryo was a regime established by ethnic groups in northern China some 2,000 years.

Koguryo has a pair of cities, named Guonei City and Wandu City, which are respectively located on a plain and the nearby mountain in Ji'an City in northeast China's Jilin Province.

Taking advantage of the local natural environment, the pair of imperial cities combines the defense works with unique ethnic features, setting a good example in China's architectural history.

A number of cultural relics have been unearthed from the ruins in Guonei City, which is 2,738 meters in perimeter. They included a pair of jade earrings, 20 gold-plated arrow heads and large amounts of tiles with different kinds of decorative patterns.

Wandu City, on the mountain top some 2.5 kilometers north of Guonei City, has seven city gates, forming the main defensive system in the region.

It was built in 198 and destroyed in 342. The city had served as a garrison city and twice as the provisional capital city.

Statistics showed murals in the Koguryo Kingdom have been found in 101 ancient tombs, of which 33 are scattered in Jilin Province of China and 68 in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The murals are rich in content including the family life of noble lords, feasting, dancing, drama-playing and outings. The murals were made on stone walls covered with lime.

Some murals made in early periods portrayed palace, water well, soldiers, maids, cattle and dogs, flower and grass and the sun and the moon.

When Buddhism was introduced into China, the designs of lotus, a symbol in Buddhism, appeared in the tomb murals.

To date, some murals have fallen off as a result of mildew and erosion. Chinese cultural relics protection workers have introduced the digital virtual technology into the tombs. Through a computer, visitors may see beautiful murals without going into the tombs.

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