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Saturday, 26 October 2013

Bold and Beautiful Baekje, Part II: Hanseong-Baekje Museum, Seoul Songpa-gu

Seoul or also known as Hanseong in Baekje Period (18 BCE ~ 660 CE) was the capital city for 493 years, of a total of 678 years of Baekje History. Therefore, there are essential Hanseong-Baekje era ruins such as Pungnap Fortress, Mongchon Fortress and Seokchon-dong Tomb Complex, where tens of thousands of relics were excavated. Seoul Metropolitan Government was responsible for the construction plan of Hanseong Baekje Museum (Hanja: 漢城百濟博物館) to systemically preserve those relics and review the 2000-year history of Seoul while establishing its cultural identity. The Hanseong Baekje Museum, established on a site overlooking the Mongchon Fortress in the Olympic Park, Seoul Songpa-gu - opened its door to the public in April 2012.

The Hanseong Baekje Museum will take an essential role in the historical research of the Hanseong Baekje era and span a bridge over the 2000-year-long history of Seoul. It will allow visitors to enjoy the rich culture and give Seoulites a sense of pride about their own history. Furthermore it is expected to attract foreign tourists up to 12 millions. The Hanseong Baekje Museum will enrich Seoul Special City, where traditions and the present co-exist harmonically.

Seoul has a long and rich history and was the capital of the Baekje Dynasty for about 500 years (18 BC ~ 475 CE). Many large settlements were already established in the Neolithic Age and their traces still can be found in the numerous areas including Amsa-dong prehistoric settlement, Pungnap Fortress, Mongchon Fortress and Seokchon tomb complex. Since ancient times the Han River, traversing Seoul City, has been an essential transport route and helped to create fertile farmlands along its surroundings. With those merits, Seoul was the industrial hub that has been the stage for several wars during the Three Kingdom period (Baekje, Silla and Goguryeo). This was proved by various excavated relics scattered around Seoul area.

In recent years, tens of thousands of Baekje-era relics were excavated from the Poongnap Fortress telling the hidden historic stories beneath them. However, it was still in the poor condition to manage and utilize these relics as the educational materials. Besides, we are advised to strive harder for cherishing the prehistoric remains and making the best use of them. Seoul Metropolitan Government established the Hanseong Baekje Museum, which will efficiently manage the valuable relics and induce many visitors as well. Following this agenda, the Hanseong Baekje Museum will lead the diverse researches on the buried relics around Seoul area and manage the existing excavated ones in a systematic way.

Furthermore, by developing the prehistoric relic trails in connection with the other tourist spots, the Hanseong Baekje Museum will invigorate its functional purpose and quench citizens’ thirst for the historic culture.