Republic of Korea
** Observer member
Asia-Pacific Regional Secretariat – Gyeongju
Asia-Pacific, Regional Overview
World Heritage Cities are more than man-made buildings and places. They are cradles of memories and human experiences, where countless interactions and creations happen. They are alive, and we want to keep them alive. However, the authorities responsible for taking care of our cities encounter difficulties in addressing issues in mutually satisfactory ways.
Especially in the Asia-Pacific region, the reconciliation of developing a city while conserving protected sites needs a new and strong impetus. More than half of the world’s population lives in this region, and with its diversity as an asset, the several countries have enjoyed remarkable economic growth during the Post World War 2 era. The region has experienced, is experiencing, and will be experiencing rapid changes in economic development, population growth and urbanization, social transformation, and technological development, which also means tha the World Heritage Cities in the region are facing countless challenges such as armed conflicts, pollution, uncontrolled urbanization, unchecked tourist development, and the gap between modern life style and traditional life style.
Yet, we believe that the richness and beauty of the World Heritage Cities in the Asia-Pacific region can and will be preserved, with our faithful efforts from all aspects of society – from the heritage experts, conservation professionals, city representatives, site manangers, and, most importantly, the valuable citizens of the World Heritage Cities. The people of the Asia-Pacific region recognize and appreciate the value of the World Heritage Sites, and are willing to preserve the precious historical relics that represent the lengthy history of their cities. The OWHC Asia-Pacific Regional Secretariat is committed to assisting the will of the people in the region for better management, conservation, and maintenance of the World Heritage Sites and World Heritage Cities, all for the benefit for the residents.
Gyeongju, home of OWHC-AP was the capital for a thousand years during the Silla dynasty which unified the Korean peninsula in 668. Because of countless and priceless monuments and artifacts scattered around the city, Gyeongju is considered as a large “Museum without walls”. The contemporary residents of the city, being so proud of the historical value of their hometown, have not neglected their duty to preserve the heritage as much as they can.
There are four UNESCO World Heritages in the city:
- Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
- Gyeongju Historic Areas
- Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong
- Seowon, Korean Neo-Confucian Academies: Oksan Seowon
OWHC-AP was founded in December 2013, Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. Its first regional meeting was held from 24th to 26th of September 2014.
For further information, please visit our official web site www.owhc-ap.co.kr or
check out our instagram,
or take a look at the owhcleaflet.pdf.