The DPRK’s Historic Sites

|Korean Peninsula

In the DPRK, with its long and continuous 5,000 years of history and culture, there are many outstanding historic sites.

The DPRK’s historic sites well express the resplendent history and culture of the Korean people, their peculiar psychological traits and characteristic ethnic sentiment, and exceptional ethnic forms.

With the paying of attention by Comrade Kim Jong Il who, mindful of folk traditions being precious, places emphasis on making the best advantage of ethnicity, the DPRK’s historic sites have been carefully preserved and managed. Furthermore there are many places where once-disappeared historic sites have been restored to their original state.

As exemplary cases from among the historical sites of the DPRK, including the ruins of fortresses and temples, the Komunmoru (Hugu-ri) Site, the Tomb of King Tangun and the Kangso Three Tombs can be cited.

 

The Komunmoru (Hugu-ri) Relics

A cave site of one million years ago (Lower Paleolithic). An important site which shows that the Taedong River basin, centered on Pyongyang, is the place of origin of the Korean people and is one of the cradles of human culture.

The Komunmoru Relics are in a natural cave situated on the southern hillside of Umul Peak (Umulbong), to the east of Hugu-ri, which is at a distance of over three kilometers to the west of the township of Sangwon, Sangwon County, Pyongyang City.

The Komunmoru Relics are in a natural cave situated on the southern hillside of Umul Peak (Umulbong), to the east of Hugu-ri, which is at a distance of over three kilometers to the west of the township of Sangwon, Sangwon County, Pyongyang City.

Among the fossils of 29 species of animal which have come out of the site there are more than 10 species which are extinct. The majority of the extinct species are characteristic fauna which lived one million years ago, and in particular a marsh vole is a characteristic species among the animals which existed from one million to 400,000 years ago and afterwards became extinct. Consequently, for the Komunmoru animal fossils it is known that they were formed one million years ago, and for the stone tools unearthed from the site it is known that people, who had caught, eaten and lived on the animals of that period, had left them behind.

The Tomb of King Tangun

The Tomb of King Tangun is the mausoleum of Tangun, the ancestral father of the Korean people. It is located on the top of a ridgeline at the foot of Mount Taebak in Munhung-ri, Kangdong County, Pyongyang City.

Under the direct leadership of President Kim Il Sung, DPRK archaeologists found the bones of King Tangun, and thereby it was possible to ascertain scientifically that King Tangun, who had come to be a mythical figure for several thousand years, was the ancestral father of the Korean people.

The Tomb of King Tangun was newly reconstructed and enlarged in 1994.

The total site area of the Tomb of Tangun, where the bones of Tangun—who founded Kojoson [Old Korea], the first nation in Korean history—and of his wife are buried, is approximately 45 hectares. The tomb of Tangun is split into two main sections: the area of the commemorative stela for the reconstruction of the Tomb of Tangun and of stone statues; and the central area.

There is a tomb chamber positioned almost horizontal to the tomb platform at the center of the mound-shaped tomb (grave mound1) in the central area. On the floor of the tomb chamber two coffins are placed in a North-South orientation, and moreover the coffins holding the bones of King Tangun and his wife are both placed there. The bones are inside glass coffins, and the glass coffins were installed over the wooden coffins. The coffin on the left as one faces the tomb is the one containing the bones of King Tangun, and that to the right is the one containing the bones of King Tangun’s wife.

At the front entrance to the chamber is hung an image (portrait) of King Tangun.

The Kangso Three Tombs

The Kangso Three Tombs are tombs with Koguryo mural tombs from the middle of the seventh century. They are in Sammyo-ri, Kangso County, Nampho City, South Phyongan Province. They are exemplary tombs among the Koguryo mural tombs which have been registered on the World Heritage List.

In the case of the Kangso Three Tombs, which exhibit the high construction skills and excellent painting skills of Koguryo, three tombs form one group. The most southerly and largest is the Kangso large tomb, and of the two tombs situated behind it and alongside one another, the one to the west is the Kangso medium-sized tomb and the one to the east the Kangso small tomb.

The interiors of the Kangso Three Tombs were created via exquisite stone-working skills, with precise layouts and artful workmanship based on, for that time, highly scientifically-skilled calculations. This clearly demonstrates the excellent construction skills of the people of Koguryo.

In the Kangso large tomb and medium-sized tomb there are world famous Koguryo murals. In the case of the Kangso large tomb murals, as some of the best-executed masterpieces even among Koguryo painted works, the mythological animals including the tortoise-serpent, blue dragon, white tiger and red phoenix, and the natural landscapes and fairies, even today appear about to stir into life and are vividly depicted. In addition, even today after thousands of years have passed, the colors of the murals have not changed.

  1. The portion piled up from earth, etc., over a grave

[Translated by ERINA]