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Backgrounder: Capital Cities of Koguryo Kingdom

The Koguryo Kingdom (37 BC - 668 AD) is believed to be the longest regime in history founded by the ethnic minority people in northeast China and it played a big role in the development of Northeast Asia.

Though destroyed over 1,300 years ago, relics of the kingdom remain in good condition, including the capital city, fortifications, royal tombs and steles in what is nowadays called Ji'an city, Jilin Province and the neighboring Huanren county of Liaoning Province.

The capital was originally built in Huanren, then called Wunu Mountain City, in 37 BC and removed to Ji'an, whose name was then Guonei, in 3 AD by the second Koguryo ruler.

Ji'an, a county of 3,217 sq km, is about a three-hour drive away from Huanren.

The most famous relic in Ji'an is the "Haotaiwang Stele", which was erected some 1,500 years ago with 1,775 Chinese characters inscribed. Experts believe it has shown the impact of Chinese culture on the Koguryo who did not develop their own writing.

The site of capital cities and tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom was inscribed on Thursday into the World Heritage List at the ongoing 28th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province.

So far, China has got 30 heritage sites written into the World Heritage List, including natural, cultural and mixed properties.

Wei Cuncheng, a professor of the Jilin University and expert on Koguryo, said, "Koguryo was a regime established by ethnic groups in northern China some 2,000 years ago, representing an important part of Chinese culture."

Wang Yongze, deputy director of the Culture Department of Jilin Province, said, "We shall strive to better take care of the heritage so that more people can have a chance to enjoy the ancient Koguryo culture."

Archeologists believe the unique system of capital cities represented by Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City heavily influenced the construction of later capitals built by the Koguryo regime, while the Koguryo tombs provided outstanding examples of the evolution of piled-stone and earthen tomb construction, as well as the then human creative genius in wall paintings and structures.
(Xinhua News Agency July 2, 2004)

China Attaches Great Importance to Protecting Koguryo Heritage
China Publishes Research Results on Koguryo Kingdom Ruins
Koguryo Sites Put onto Heritage List
China's Ancient Koguryo Kingdom Site on World Heritage List
UNESCO World Heritage Committee Session
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