Assessment of the World Heritage Committee:
The Koguryo Relics is in accordance with five of the six standards for selecting world heritage. First, it is an outstanding accomplishment that can reflect the creativity and wisdom of mankind. Second, the capital cities and tombs can reflect the Han nationality’s cultural influence on other nationalities, and the relics contain many frescoes with distinctive characteristics. Third, it can reflect the lost Koguryo civilization. Fourth, the capital cities built with stones and mud in the Koguryo Dynasty had greatly affected future ages. Fifth, it is a perfect example of combining human creativity and nature.
Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
Chinese name: Gao Ju Li Wang Cheng, Wang Ling Ji Gui Zu Mu Zang
English name: Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
Based on the standard C for selecting cultural heritage, the Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom were listed in the World Heritage List in July 2004.
The Koguryo Kingdom began in 37 B.C. and ended in 668 A.D. It was once a very influential minority nationality regime in China’s northeastern region, and played an important role in the historical development of Northeast Asia. The Koguryo Kingdom originated in the present-day Huanren County of Liaoning Province. It moved its capital to Guonei City (Ji’an of Jilin Province currently) in 3 A.D., and moved its capital again in 427 A.D. to Pyongyang. The current Huanren County and Ji’an City were the political, cultural and economic centers of the Koguryo Kingdom during its early and middle period, which lasted for 456 years in total, and also the places where the cultural heritage of the Koguryo Kingdom were concentrated the most.
Since 1990s, archeologists in China successively unearthed many city relics and tombs of the Koguryo Kingdom in Ji’an and Huanren, and they repaired the ones that had been damaged by nature. Therefore, the outline of the Koguryo’s abundant cultural content has gradually become clearer.
In order to protect the historic and cultural Koguryo heritage, the Chinese Government implemented the “Protection Planning for the Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom” in 2002. The Planning appointed 43 protection zones, including the two Koguryo capital cities of Guonei City and the Wandu Mountain City, two ancillary buildings of the 12 imperial tombs and the King Haotai Tablet, as well as 27 tombs of nobles. Protecting the authenticity and integrity of Koguryo cultural heritage has become an important work for Ji’an’s economic and social development.
The Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom that were listed into the World Heritage List this time include the Five Women Mountain City, Guonei City, Wandu Mountain City, 12 imperial tombs, 26 nobles’ tombs, the King Haotai Stele, and the No.1 accompanying grave of the General’s Tomb, all of which are located in Ji’an City of Jilin Province and Huanren County of Liaoning Province.
Capital cities: Five Women Mountain City, Guonei City, Wandu Mountain City
Imperial Tombs: No.0626 Tomb of Maxian Valley, Qianqiu Tomb, Xida Tomb, No.2100 Tomb in Maxian Valley, No.2378 Tomb in Maxian Valley, No.0211 Tomb in Seven-Star Mountain, No.0871 Tomb in Seven-Star Mountain, Taiwang Tomb and the King Haotai Stele, Linjiang Tomb, No.0992 Tomb in Yushan Mountain, the General’s Tomb and its accompanying grave. There are 14 in total.
Nobles’ Tombs: Jiaodi Tomb, Wuyong Tomb, Macao Tomb, Wangzi Tomb, Huanwen Tomb, Ranmou Tomb, Lotus-Scattering Tomb, No.2 Tomb in Changchuan Village, No.4 Tomb in Changchuan Village, No.1 Tomb in Changchuan Village, No.3319 Tomb in Yushan Mountain, No.1 Grave in Five-Helmet Tomb, No.2 Grave in Five-Helmet Tomb, No 3 Grave in Five-Helmet Tomb, No.4 Grave in Five-Helmet Tomb, No.5 Grave in Five-Helmet Tomb, the Four-Immortal Tomb, No.2112 Tomb in Yushan Mountain, No.1 Grave in Four-Helmet Tomb, No.2 Grave in Four-Helmet Tomb, No.3 Grave in Four-Helmet Tomb, No.4 Grave in Four-Helmet Tomb, Older Brother Tomb, Younger Brother Tomb, Chaitianjing Tomb, Tortoise Shell Tomb. There are 26 in total.
The Koguryo Kingdom was a minority nationality regime on the frontier of China in ancient times. It was founded by a Buyeo man named Zhu Meng in the Western Han Dynasty’s Koguryo County, Xuantu Prefecture (currently Xinbin County of Liaoning Province) in the Jianzhao second year of the Emperor Hanyuan (37 B.C.). Then, the capital of the Koguryo Kingdom was founded in Heshenggu City (currently Five Women Mountain City in Huanren County of Liaoning Province). In the Yuanshi third year of the Western Han Dynasty (3 A.D.), it moved its capital to Guonei City and also started to build Weinayan City (both cities are currently located in Ji’an of Jilin Province). In the Shiguang fourth year of the Northern Wei Dynasty (427 A.D.), it moved its capital again to Pyongyang. In 668 A.D., the Koguryo Kingdom was extinguished by the allied forces of the Tang Dynasty and Korean Peninsula’s Silla Kingdom.
As one of the most distinctive and influential ancient regimes in China’s northeast region, the Koguryo Kingdom had a splendid history. The main historic relics of the Kingdom was gradually discovered in China’s Jilin Province and Liaoning Province, and the relics have become irreplaceable material proofs of that period of history and have extremely high historic and cultural value. Especially, the ancient capital cities, imperial tombs and nobles’ tombs are extremely valuable.