Koryo Songgyungwan

Koryo Songgyungwan
(Photo Credit Uriminzokkiri)

Koryo Songgyungwan, located in Pangjik-dong, Kaesong, was the highest institution of education in the period of Koryo (918–1392), a feudal state.

It has the longest history of its kind in the world.

In 992 Kukjagam, the highest national institution of education, was set up in Kaegyong, the capital of Koryo.

In 1087 it moved into Taemyong Palace, a detachment of the royal palace, built in Kaegyong in 1047.

It was reorganized as Songgyungam in 1298, as Songgyungwan in 1308, as Kukjagam in 1356 and finally as Songgyungwan in 1362.

The buildings of the Koryo dynasty were burned down by the Japanese aggressors during the Imjin Patriotic War (1592–1598) and the present buildings were reconstructed in 1602–1610.

Songgyungwan occupies a total area of 10 000 square metres.

It has 18 traditional Korean-style tile-roofed houses including Tongjae, Sojae, Myongryundang and Taesongjon, which are located symmetrically along the central axis.

There used to be 200 students, who were to live in the dormitory as a matter of rule.

They were chosen among nobles who had passed the minor civil and primary state examinations.

The buildings are rather big compared with those still remaining from the middle years of the feudal Joson dynasty.

For their scale and structure, the buildings offer valuable information in studying the art of architecture of the relevant time.

On June 23, 2013 Koryo Songgyungwan was registered in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage.

(Uriminzokkiri - December 8, 2020)

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