Thirty-two cultural heritage sites damaged by typhoon

Tiles that fell from the Geungnakjeon building are seen on the floor of Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, on Wednesday. (CHA)

A total of 32 cases of damage to heritage sites were reported Wednesday night following Typhoon Hannamnor which hit the country on Monday, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration.

Seokguram Cave and the Bulguksa Temple site in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, are among the sites that suffered major damage.

Historic sites accounted for 24 cases, followed by three treasures, two of national folk cultural heritage and one national treasure, one natural monument and one registered cultural heritage each.

By region, 16 cases have been reported in North Gyeongsang Province, eight in South Gyeongsang Province, four in Gyeonggi Province and two in Seoul and Jeju Island.

The roof tiles have fallen off from the Geungnakjeon, the main hall of Bulguksa Temple, where Amitabha Buddha is enshrined. Several trees in the compound were also felled.

The entrance to Seokguram Grotto, a national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was partially destroyed, along with the front yard of its administrative office which also suffered damage. Visitors are currently prohibited from entering the area.

Part of the surrounding stone pillars and roads leading to Daejeokgwangjeon of Gyeongju Girimsa Temple which enshrines Vairocana Buddha were washed away.

Pine trees near another treasure, the Baedong Stone Buddha Triad, were knocked down.

The royal tombs in Gyeongju and Gimhae were also affected by the typhoon.

The stylobate and shaft base of King Wonseong’s (785-798) Tomb of Silla in Gyeongju collapsed while a major landslide washed away part of the floor of Hwangnyongsa Temple.

In Gimhae, a willow next to the royal tomb of King Suro who founded the Garak Kingdom in AD 42 fell while about 10 meters of the Bunsanseong Fortress walking path collapsed.

The CHA has emergency repair plans in place to prevent further damage to heritage sites, with local governments working to repair minor damage.

By Kim Hae-yeon ([email protected])

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