Seowon, Neo-Confucian Academies of Korea – UNESCO World Heritage Site

Seowon, Neo-Confucian Academies of Korea – UNESCO World Heritage Site


Hey everyone, welcome to World Heritage Journey. Today, we’re at Seowon, the Confucian Academies
of Korea, in South Korea. Seowon are Confucian Academies, essentially
religious schools for Confucians, and this is where young nobles would be trained to
become part of the government service. They date largely from the Joseon Dynasty,
and this entry on the World Heritage List covers nine of them, scattered across South
Korea. For our visit, we’re Byeongsan Seowon in the
centre of South Korea. Let’s have a look! It’s not known exactly when the Seowon first
appeared in Korea, but at the height of the Joseon dynasty there were thousands of them
all across the peninsula. Often situated in remote areas, many haven’t
survived through to the modern era, but the remaining ones are absolutely fantastic. Byeongsan was founded in 1613 and is organised
around the worship of Ryu Seong-ryong, a notable Confucian scholar from the local area. Surrounded by mountains and overlooking a
winding river, it’s a perfect place to relax, meditate and study. Although the complex is fairly small, you’ll
find a library, two dormitories, a study hall, offices for both the principal and the vice-principal,
and of course the shrine to Master Ryu Seong-ryong.

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