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What is cultural heritage?
  • Cultural heritage refers to cultural properties worthy of preservation. In a broad sense, cultural heritage does not just include tangible properties. Various artistic activities passed on from generation to generation, anthropological heritage, folklore, law, traditions and lifestyles can all be included in the category of cultural properties. In other words, everything that represents the essence of the national ethos is regarded as cultural heritage.
  • Cultural heritage is divided into two categories: “designated cultural heritage” protected under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act or municipal ordinances for cultural properties protection and “non-designated cultural heritage,” which is not designated by law but need continuous protection and preservation.
  • Designated cultural properties consist of State-designated and City/Do-designated ones, while non-designated cultural heritage includes buried cultural properties, ordinary movable cultural properties and other non-designated local relics and ruins.
  • Whether designated or non-designated, all the cultural properties deserve to be preserved and protected as a part of our valuable cultural heritage.

Type of Designated Cultural Heritage

Tangible Cultural HeritageFolklore Cultural HeritageMonumentIntangible Cultural Heritage
designated Cultural Heritage
National TreasureTreasureImportant Folklore Cultural HeritageHistoric SiteScenic SiteNatural MonumentImportant Intangible Cultural Heritage
City/Do-designated Cultural HeritageLocal Tangible Cultural HeritageLocal Folklore MaterialLocal MonumentLocal Intangible Cultural Heritage
Cultural Properties Materials

  • National Treasure
    National Treasure

    (Gilt-bronze Crown from Sinchon-ri, Naju. National Treasure No.295

  • Treasure

    (White Porcelain Bottle with String Design in Underglaze Iron. Treasure No. 1060)

  • Important Folklore Cultural Heritage
    Important Folklore Cultural Heritage

    (Ceremonial Robe Worn by Heungseon Daewongun, No.214)

  • Historic Site
    Historic Site

    Ancient Tombs in Bannam, Naju Scenic Site No. 513

  • Scenic Site
    Scenic Site

    (Haegeumgang Islets, Geoje, Scenic Site No.2)

  • Important Folklore Cultural Heritage
    Important Folklore Cultural Heritage

    (Ceremonial Robe Worn by Heungseon Daewongun, No.214)

  • Important Intangible Cultural Heritage
    Important Intangible Cultural Heritage

    [Gangnyeong Talchum(Mask Dance Drama of Gangnyeong) Intangible Cultural Heritage No.34]

  • Local Tangible Cultural Heritage
    Local Tangible Cultural Heritage

    (Hongimun Gate and Tangchundseseong Fortress Metropolitan City Tangible Cultural Heritage No.33)

  • Local Folklore Material
    Local Folklore Material

    (Portraits of Lady Gang and King Taejo in Bugundang Hall of Seobinggo-dong Seoul Metropolitan City Folklore Material No.2)

  • Local Monument
    Local Monument

    (Bosin Belfry Site Seoul Metropolitan City Monument No.10)

  • Local Intangible Cultural Heritage
    Local Intangible Cultural Heritage

    (Chogojang Master of Rush Weaving Seoul Metropolitan City Intangible Cultural Heritage No.16)

Sungnyemun Gate(National Treasure No.1)
Sungnyemun Gate (National Treasure No.1)
Why was Sungnyemun Gate designated as National Treasure No.1?

Sungnyemun was the main south gate of Hanyang, the capital city of the Joseon Dynasty, built in the seventh year of King Taejo’s reign (1398) but completely renovated in the 29th year of King Sejong’s reign (1447). The gate, the oldest wooden construction in Seoul, has significant symbolic value as the gateway to the city. It was designated as National Treasure No. 1 for reflecting the distinctive characteristics and style of early Joseon architecture. The designation number, however, does not signify the order of importance among cultural properties.