The Korea Herald


Historic sites to offer 5 fee-free days to mark renaming of cultural heritage agency

Symposium on Thursday to seek better ways to manage cultural heritage

By Choi Si-young

Published : May 14, 2024 - 14:36

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Royal court musical performances at Changdeokgung (CHA) Royal court musical performances at Changdeokgung (CHA)

Entrance fees to 76 historic sites in South Korea, including the popular royal palaces and shrine in Seoul and tombs across the country connected to the Joseon era (1392-1910), will be waived from Wednesday to Sunday to mark the renaming of the Cultural Heritage Administration as the Korea Heritage Service, the agency managing heritage work.

The name change, which will take effect Friday and is part of larger efforts to overhaul the agency, was passed by the National Assembly in April 2023. “National heritage” will replace “cultural properties,” with heritage being separately categorized as natural, cultural or intangible, in line with the UNESCO classifications.

Celebrations open to the public for free will take place at Joseon era (1392-1910) palaces. From Friday to Sunday. Reenactments of kings and queens taking a walk will take place at Gyeongbokgung, while nighttime tours are scheduled at Changgyeonggung.

From Friday to Saturday, royal court musical performances will take place at Changdeokgung. Deoksugung will hold a special exhibition showcasing portraits of Korean independence fighters and their calligraphy. The pieces, 21 in total, include calligraphy by the fifth son of Joseon’s last king, Gojong.

“Works we have brought here together include those auctioned off in Japan,” said a senior official at the National Trust for Cultural Heritage. The nonprofit foundation, the organizer, helps the CHA with preservation efforts. The exhibit is running through this month.

At the Westin Josun Seoul on Thursday, the CHA will hold a symposium to gather input from experts known for cultural heritage management. Participants include senior officials from UNESCO and professors from around the world who have authored books on heritage studies.

The meeting will explore key issues in handling natural, cultural and intangible heritage, as well as digitization efforts.

Susan Mclntyre-Tamwoy, vice president of the Asia-Pacific region for the International Council on Monuments and Sites, will discuss cultural heritage in particular. The ICOMOS advises the World Heritage Committee, the body of 21 member countries recognizing world heritage sites.

The CHA is waiting for such approval on rock carvings at the stream Bangucheon in Ulsan, a decision to be made in July 2025. Field inspections are currently underway.