본문 바로가기 주메뉴 바로가기 하위메뉴 바로가기


Components Related to the Each Period

Baekje was an ancient East Asian proto-kingdom and kingdom that existed for nearly 700 years from 18 BCE to 660 CE. Immigrants originating from Goguryeo established the Baekje Kingdom on the lower reaches of the Hangang River, occupying the southwestern part of the Korea. Baekje moved its capital city twice due to internal and external pressures: on the first occasion, the capital city was moved from Hanseong (Seoul) to Ungjin (Gongju) in 475 CE following the invasion by Goguryeo; while on the second occasion, an entirely new capital was built in Sabi (Buyeo) in 538 CE. The history of Baekje is generally divided into the Hanseong, Ungjin, and Sabi Periods, according to the location of its capital city. The Hanseong Period is regarded as the earlier period in Baekje’s history, while the Ungjin and Sabi Periods are regarded as the later Baekje Period.

Baekje Historic Areas constitutes a serial property comprising archaeological resources intimately associated with the later Baekje Period (475-660 CE).

Capital cities in the ancient kingdoms of East Asia, including Baekje, were established for the principal purpose of ruling a kingdom and managing its society. The capital cities of East Asia were the political, economic, and religious centers of the kingdoms as well as the embodiment of the cultural standards of the kingdoms. Some of these kingdoms also established secondary capital cities for more effective governance.

Notable features of the ancient capital cities of East Asia were their royal palace, Buddhist temple, and royal tomb. A royal palace was composed of governance areas and residential areas, and the temples, located both inside and outside a capital city, were founded both to strengthen royal sovereignty with religious authority and to develop cultural cohesion throughout the kingdom. Royal tombs were constructed adjacent to the capital city, displaying the legitimacy and divinity of the royal family.

The nominated property includes eight components: Gongsanseong Fortress and Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri which are located in Gongju and relate to the Ungjin Period; Archaeological Site in Gwanbuk-ri and Busosanseong Fortress; Jeongnimsa Temple Site; Royal Tombs in Neungsan-ri; Naseong City Wall; which are located in Buyeo and relate to the Sabi Period; and the Archaeological Site in Wanggung-ri and Mireuksa Temple Site; which are associated with the secondary capital built in Iksan during the later Sabi Period. The following table summarizes the components of the nominated property:

Component of Baekje Historic Areas
Component of Baekje Historic Areas
Period Location Component of Baeje Historic Areas
Royal Palaces Temple Sites Royal Tombs City Wall
Ungjin Period Gongju Gongsanseong Fortress - Royal Tombs in Songsan-ri -
Sabi Period Buyeo Archaeological Site in Gwanbuk-ri and Busosanseong Fortress Jeongnimsa Temple Site Royal Tombs in Neungsan-ri Naseong City Wall
Iksan Archaeological Site in Wanggung-ri (Detached Palace) Mireuksa Temple Site - -

COMPONENTS RELATED TO THE UNGJIN PERIOD (GONGJU)

After the capital Hanseong was conquered by Goguryeo, Baekje abandoned the ruined city and moved its capital to Ungjin, where is located about 130km south of Seoul. The key aspect of the new capital city in Gongju was its defensive capability. Hence, the foremost priority was defensive capacity against the threat of future Goguryeo invasions.

The area of Gongju located near the middle of Geumgang River is in the shape of a diamond. Gongju basin is surrounded by both mountains and river, playing a role as a natural barriar. These natural defensive features of Gongju were the main reason for choosing this as a new capital location. However, the advantages of defensive position did not satisfy the economic advantages for import and export for commodities which were the main reason the capital city was later relocated to Sabi.

Jemincheon Stream divides Gongju into east and west. Jemincheon Stram and Geumgang River meet at a lower flooded area limiting the usable land in Gongju. The size of the capital city has led many historians and archaeologists to debate whether or not Gongju once had a city wall. However, extensive archeological excavations conducted over a long period of time have proven that no city wall ever existed in the area. These royal tombs can be used to estimate the size of the capital city at the time. It was why Royal tombs were built just outside the capital city in both the Sabi and Ungjin Period. Groups of royal tombs have been discovered near Gongju, in Geumhak-dong to the east, and in Songsan-ri to the west. Therefore, the size of a capital city can be estimated by researching the distribution of its royal tombs.

COMPONENTS RELATED TO THE SABI PERIOD (BUYEO)

Baekje relocated its capital for the second time, to Sabi, which is modern-day Buyeo (35km southwest of Gongju). This was the beginning of the Sabi Period (538-660 CE).

At the time of the first relocation of the capital to Gongju, defensive capability was primary factor in which most of the criteria for national defense were met, as shown in the records on the wars against Goguryeo during the 6th century. Based on this solid national security, King Muryeong (r. 501-523) succeeded in securing political stability and restoring Baekje’s economic fortunes. But his successor King Seong (r. 523-554) decided to relocate the capital city to Buyeo in order to further develop his kingdom, to control the rising power of the nobility, and to strengthen the royal authority.

Gongju was rather small for a capital city, covering only 10㎢, whereas Buyeo covered about 20㎢. The relatively open area of Buyeo has an advantage for supporting greater population compared to Gongju. Also, as Buyeo had direct access to the sea at high tide, it was much easier to accommodate large seagoing sailing boats. This played a significant role in enabling international trade and cultural exchanges. The Geumgang River, flowing around the northern, western, and southern areas of Buyeo, served as a natural protective barrier. Buyeo offered both economic and military advantages so that King Seong relocated the capital city to Buyeo in 538.

Excavations related to the capital city in Buyeo have been conducted over a period of 30 years since 1979. As a result, numerous discoveries at the large building site, Buddhist temple sites, the royal tombs and a city wall have provided many valuable clues for estimating the original appearance of the capi tal city of Baekje about 1,400 years ago.

COMPONENTS RELATED TO THE SABI PERIOD (IKSAN)

King Mu, 30th king of Baekje (r. 600-641), actively constructed a secondary capital in Iksan, which is approximately 50km south of Buyeo. Also, he built a Buddhist temple named “Mireuksa” and constructed a detached palace in Iksan.

The purpose of construction of a secondary capital in Iksan was to consolidate king’s power by suppressing aristocrats influence in Buyeo as well as to stage war against the Silla. The ultimate aim for constructing the secondary capital was to gain a strong control over the southern region of Baekje.

Iksan provided various advantages of close proximity to water transportation, connecting to the Geumgang River, the Mangyeonggang River, and the sea. It also served as an important node for inland transport routes to the southern part of the Korea. This advantageous location also carried out the strategic importance of the Iksan region.

Iksan is located in the Honam plain area where plenty of agricultural lands are located. This was why Iksan was chosen as the secondary capital.

The Archaeological Site in Wanggung-ri and Mireuksa Temple Site were the physical evidence that attest to the existence of the secondary capital in Iksan during the reign of King Mu. Major historic sites dating to later Baekje Period were located in plain and low-lying hilly land on the southern skirt of Mireuksan Mountain (430m high) and Yonghwasan Mountain (340m high). This geographical, historical, and cultural setting of the Iksan area offered the ideal conditions for building the secondary capital in Iksan to supplement the functions of the capital city during the late Sabi Period.