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Koguryo Cultural Relics Scenic Area

Koguryo Cultural Relics Scenic Area

Koguryo Cultural Relics Scenic Area (gāo gōu lì wén wù gǔ jì jǐng qū 高句丽文物古迹景区) is located in the southeast part of Jilin Province, Ji'an (jí ān 集安) City is a key port to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which is on the other side of Yalu River. With the coverage of 3,217 sq. km. and a population of 236,000, Ji'an has 18 nationalities, 88.4% of which are Han, and 7.5% are Korean. The Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom are distributed in the area of Ji'an city, Jilin Province, and there is an inner city, a hill city and 14 imperial tombs and 16 other tombs in which the nobles were buried. And the Koguryo Cultural Relics Scenic Area was set up in 1983 which is reached 857679 square meters.
 
History
Geshenggu CityJi'an has a long history. As early as 4,000 years ago, there are people living on this land. Korguryo Kingdom was founded in Geshenggu (gē shēng gǔ chéng 纥升骨城) City (present Hengren (huán rén xiàn 桓仁县) County, Liaoning (liáo níng 辽宁) Province) by Zhu Meng (zhū méng 朱蒙) in 37BC. 40 years later since the founding, the second king moved the capital to Guonei City (guó nèi chéng 国内城) (present Ji'an). He also ordered Wandu Mountain City (wán dōu shān chéng 丸都山城) built 2.5 km north of Guonei City as a garrison city. Ji’an had been Korguryo Kingdom's political, economic and cultural center for 425 years until the twentieth monarch of the Koguryo reign of Changshou (Longevity) moved the capital to Pyongyang in 427AD. But Guonei City was also regarded as a key city of the kingdom. Korguryo Kingdom lasted for 705 years long (37BC-668AD) and had 28 monarchs.
During the 400 years, Korguryo people had created brilliant civilization in Ji'an. Rich historical relics were left on this land: Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City sites, Donggou ancient tomb (dòng gōu gǔ mù qún 洞沟古墓群) complexes with over 10,000 ancient tombs, Donggou ancient tombGeneral’s Tomb (jiāng jūn fén 将军坟) which is called the oriental pyramid, Haotaiwang (hǎo tài wáng bēi 好太王碑) Stele which is renowned as the first Haidong (hǎi dōng 海东) ancient stele, and Tomb Mural Paintings. All these are historical cultural sceneries with unique features.
Ji’an was first established in 1902 in Qing Dynasty. Its Chinese name was changed once in March 8, 1965. Ji’an County was prompted as Ji'an city in April 15, 1989. And it was granted as the Chinese historical and cultural city in January 4, 1992. It is granted as "China's Top Tourist City" by National tourism administration in June 2004. In 2004, this site of capital cities and tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom of China was inscribed into the World Heritage List.
 
Best Attractions
The Site of Capital Cities of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom
The site of capital cities of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom has witnessed the changing in the last 1500 years. Though the magnificent palace and temples collapsed, the remaining city walls stand firmly, revealing the splendor of the vanished kingdom. As an important historical site Guonei Cityand cultural relics, Guonei (guó nèi chéng 国内城) City was put under the protection of Jilin Province in 1964 and was put into the list of State Protected Historic Site in 2001.
Before the capital of Korguryo was moved here, Guonei City had already had earth-made circumvallation. But the remaining walls were constructed after the capital was moved here. Guonei City was in quadrate shape, with a 554.7-meter-long east wall, 702-meter-long west wall, a 751.5-meter-long south wall and a 730-meter-long north wall, 2738.2 meters in circumference. Both sides of the wall were made of quarrels. The lower layers were wider than the higher ones. Workers sculpted horse faces on the wall and turrets were built at the four corners. Some parts of the circumvallation have collapsed. The remaining wall is 7 to 10 meters wide and the highest parts are 3 to 4 meters high. There are four gates in the circumvallation. Three of them were rebuilt in 1921 and the north one was blocked. The east gate was named Jiwen Gate (jí wén mén 辑文门); the west gate was named Anwu Gate (ān wǔ mén 安武门); the south one was named Jinjiang Gate (jīn jiāng mén 襟江门).
 
Wandu Mountain City (wán dōu shān chéng 丸都山城)
Wandou Mountain City2.5km north of Ji'an urban district, Wandu Mountain City locates on the precipitous Wandu Mountain. As one of the typical Koguryo mountain city, Wandu city, the garrison city, had twice served as the kingdom's provisional capital city.
According to historical records, Wandu Mountain City was named Weinayan City (wèi nà yán chéng 尉那严城) originally. It was reinforced and was named Wandu Mountain City in 198AD. Palace on large scale was constructed in the city. The monarch of the Koguryo reign of Shanshang (shān shàng 山上) (in the mountain) moved the capital to Wandu Mountain City in 209 AD. Wandu Mountain City was the only mountain city serving as capital that was constructed with a palace on large scale at center.
 
Taiwang Mausoleum (tài wáng ling 太王陵)
4km east of Ji'an urban district, Taiwang Mausoleum is situated in the south of Yushan (yǔ shān禹山) Mountain. 2km south of Yalu (yā lù 鸭绿) River, it is the mausoleum of the 19th monarch of Koguryo reign of Haotai. The monarch's name was also called Tande (tán dé 谈德). He was enthroned in 391AD and his reign lasted for 22 years. He was buried here in Taiwang Mausoleum412AD. In his reign, Koguryo got great achievement in political and economic development. It is recorded on Haotaiwang (hǎo tài wáng bēi 好太王碑) Stele that during the reign of Haotai, the national power of Koguryo Kingdom was strong; bad people were punished; people were free from hunger.
Taiwang Mausoleum was a stone-chambered tomb of square altar ladder pattern. Before the construction of the square altar, an 80cm foundation trench was made and the foundation was 90cm high. Because of formation variation over the past 1600 years, considerable changes had been made on the foundation of the square altar. The side of the square-shape mausoleum is around 65 meters long. The remaining is 14 meters high. The mausoleum is 259.5 meters in circumference. 5 Hugh granites are relying on the ladder stones to reduce the harm the tensile may cause. 13 huge granites with a weight of over 10 tons respectively are also well preserved.
 
the General's Tomb (jiāng jūn fén将军坟)
As the mausoleum of the 20th monarch of the Koguryo Kingdom reign of Changshou (Longevity), the General's Tomb broke earth in early 5th century when the monarch ascended the throne. The tomb had been visited by grave robbers many years ago. In the late Qing Dynasty, some people moved into the Changbai (cháng bái 长白) Mountain preserve The General's Tombfrom the center part of China to make a living and discovered the magnificent mausoleum which was regarded as the tomb of some general's and was called the General's Tomb.
4.5km northeast of Ji’an urban district, the General's Tomb is located at the foot of Longshan (lóng shān 龙山) Mountain (Dragon Mountain) and 1km away from Haotaiwang Stele. Along Yalu River and overlooking Yushan Mountain in the west, the mausoleum relies on Longshan Mountain and faces a slope with a sunny exposure. More than 20 round holes are carved on the surrounding stone strips. With elaborate structure and techniques, the magnificent General's Tomb is a masterpiece of Koguryo mausoleum.
Since all monarchs of Koguryo kingdom began to build their mausoleum after they came to the throne, this mausoleum must be built by the monarch of the reign of Changshou. Although the capital was moved by him to Pyongyang in 427, the 15 year of his reign, the mausoleum should have been finished by then. It is reasonable for the monarch to be buried in Guonei City the former capital which was also regarded as an important city by Koguryo people.
 
Haotaiwang Stele (hǎo tài wáng bēi 好太王碑)
Haotaiwang SteleRecording the founding and development of Koguryo vividly, Haotaiwang Stele is one of the most important materials to learn Koguryo's history. Koguryo kingdom was prosperous and strong in the reign of Haotai. To commemorate the monarch's achievement, the monarch of the reign of Changshou (cháng shòu 长寿) (Longevity), the son of the former monarch, ordered this stele built 360 meters north of Haotai mausoleum when the monarch of reign of Haotai was buried in 414AD. The stele has been standing for over 1590 years.
Haotaiwang Stele is not only an important historical material to learn the founding and development of Koguryo kingdom but also a significant art of Chinese stele. In 2004, this site of capital cities and tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom of China was inscribed into the World Heritage List. And the Stele was renowned as the first Haidong ancient stele with Chinese characters.
 
Qianqiu Mausoleum (qiān qiū mù 千秋墓) (Thousand-Year Mausoleum)
Qianqiu TombQianqiu Mausoleum, a Mausoleum constructed in the middle of Koguryo Kingdom, gets its name from the inscription of "May the mausoleum standing for a thousand years" on a brick in the Mausoleum. The stone-chambered tomb of ladder altar form is 11 meters high with each side 63 meters long. 5 altar steps are still standing with monoliths at the foot of the mausoleum. Outer coffin plate was discovered in the ruined tomb chamber. A number of tiles with lotus flower pattern and cloud pattern, inscription bricks and tiles were discovered on the top of the mausoleum. Mausoleum palisade and the gate of the mausoleum are located in the south of the mausoleum and a foundation of some construction has been discovered in the southwest of the mausoleum. The cultural relics department did mapping and study on the mausoleum in 1966. In field measurement has been done in 2003. Cleaning was done on part of the mausoleum at the same year, discovering gilded bronzes and ironware, agate, stoneware and other over 1,100 pieces of relics.
 
Xida Mausoleum (xī dà mù 西大墓) (West Mausoleum)
Xida Mausoleum, a Mausoleum constructed in the middle of Koguryo Kingdom, was discovered by people moved from the center part of China when cleaning land at the end of Qing Xida TombDynasty and called it Xida Mausoleum, the name lasting to today. The remaining part of the stone grave of ladder altar form is around 11 meters high with its east and north side 53.5 meters long respectively, west side 56.7 meters long and the south side 62.5 meters long. The inside grave wall is made of screeds and cobbles. The outer wall is built by laying elaborate stone strips. 14 altar steps are still standing. A drain is found beside the north part of the first altar step. 40.5 meters from the north part of the grave stands a cobble wall site paralleling the altar. 40 meters from the east part of the grave lays a quadrate platform site with its side equals the east side of Xida Mausoleum. The remaining part is 0.6 meters high and 17 meters wide. The platform parallels the east side of the mausoleum. An incomplete gold headdress unearthed on the platform. The cultural relics department did mapping and study on the mausoleum in 1966. In April 2003, a comprehensive cleaning is done. The falling stones in the east, west and north sides and the northeast and southeast corners were cleaned. Over 38 pieces of bronzes, ironware, pottery and stoneware as well as tiles with cloud pattern were unearthed in the trial excavation.
 
Yushan (yǔ shān 禹山) Hill aristocrat graveyard
Situated at the foot of Yushan Hill, the aristocrat graveyard is in the north of Ji’an railway. Centered on the twelve tombs of Yushan No. 2110 tomb group, the graveyard settles Wukui tomb group, Sikui (sì kuī 四盔) tomb group and Sishen (sì shén 四神) tomb group. The aristocrat graves of high class are highly valuable for further study on the Koguryo funeral.
 
Wukui Tomb Group No. 4 Tomb (wǔ kuī fén sì hào mù 五盔坟四号墓)
Wukui Tomb Group No.4 TombThe aristocrat tomb with fresco in the tomb chamber which was buried in earth is 8 meters high with its circumference 160 meters long. The square-shape tomb chamber is made of huge granite stone. The drawing was painted on the stone wall directly. The four gods were painted in their directions respectively: Green Dragon of the East, White Tiger of the West, Red Phoenix of the South and the Dark Warrior (Black Turtle) of the North. Other decorated painting like blaze, lotus, people and animals in legend were also painted. The girder wood was decorated with dragon pattern and the sunken panel was decorated with the figures from legends, floating cloud and star pattern. The tomb was constructed at the end of 6th century.
 
Wukui Tomb Group No. 5 Tomb (wǔ kuī fén wǔ hào mù 五盔坟五号墓)
The aristocrat tomb with fresco in the tomb chamber which was buried in earth is 8 meters high with its circumference 100 meters long. The square-shape tomb chamber is decorated Wukui Tomb Group No.5 Tombwith colored painting. The four gods were painted in their directions respectively: Green Dragon of the East, White Tiger of the West, Red Phoenix of the South and the Dark Warrior (Black Turtle) of the North. Other decorated painting like lotus, blaze and animals in legend backing girder were also painted. The girder wood was decorated with dragon pattern and the sunken panel was decorated with the figures from legends and floating cloud pattern the inner part of the roof was decorated by tiger patterns. The tomb was constructed at the end of 6th century. No. 4 and No. 5 tombs in Wukui tomb group and the tombs in Sishen (sì shén 四神) tomb group are all stone-chamber with fresco and buried in earth. The frescos on the tombs wall are masterpieces. The frescos of the early years are simple and related to common life; the frescos of the later years taking stories from legends and religion as subject with strong lines and thick colors are in majestic splendor.
 
Ji'an City Museum (jí ān shì bó wù guǎn 集安市博物馆)
Ji'an City MuseumConstructed in 1958, the museum now has over 10,000 pieces of cultural relics. There is a theme exhibition on Koguryo historic relics. Koguryo culture with its unique characteristics is an important part in world history. Displaying 353 pieces of culture relic, the exhibition has 8 units, including Farming, Fishing and Hunting, Stone city & terra-cotta, Stone Mausoleum, Cherished Rubbings of Inscription on Steles, Weapons, Banquet & Singing and Dancing, Culture & Art and Gold Headdress.
 
Location: Ji'an City (jí ān 集安)
Transportation: take bus to Ji’an City at Tonghua Bus Station
Tel: 0435-6262796
Admission Fee: CNY 100
Koguryo Cultural Relics Scenic Area
 
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 December 2010 09:04
 

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