Seven ancient Korean mountain temples, which typify the way Buddhism in the country has merged with indigenous beliefs and styles, were listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites on Saturday.
The seven mountain temples — Seonamsa, Daeheungsa, Beopjusa, Magoksa, Tongdosa, Bongjeongsa, Buseoksa — were all established during the Three Kingdoms period that lasted until the 7th century AD.
UNESCO made the announcement at a meeting in the Bahraini capital Manama.
“These mountain monasteries are sacred places, which have survived as living centres of faith and daily religious practice to the present,” UNESCO said in a press statement.
Buddhism was imported to the Korean peninsula in the fourth century and accepted by the ancient kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla, establishing it as the national religion for more than 1,000 years.
During the religion’s heyday in the fifth and sixth centuries many houses of worship were built under strong state patronage, accelerating the importation of Buddhist culture, architecture and style.
Over time elements of traditional Korean beliefs merged into the religion, forming the Tong Buddhist doctrine, meaning consolidation or integration, and temple architectural layouts followed suit.
UNESCO also listed Mumbai’s Art Deco buildings — believed to be the world’s second largest collection after Miami — on the World Heritage List alongside the city’s better-known Victorian Gothic architecture.
A not-for-profit team of enthusiasts are in the process of documenting every single one of Mumbai’s Art Deco treasures but they estimate there may be more than 200 across India’s bustling financial capital.
The majority of them, built on reclaimed land between the early 1930s and early 1950s, are clustered together in the south of the coastal city where they stand in stark contrast to Victorian Gothic structures.
Also listed were a dozen Christian locations in parts of southern Japan where members of the faith were once brutally persecuted.
The 12 sites include 10 villages, Hara Castle and Oura Cathedral, a Catholic church in Nagasaki that is dedicated to 26 Christians who were executed for their beliefs over four centuries ago.