– The beautifully colored ancient wall paintings in the Goguryeo tombs show images of animals, palaces, water wells, warriors, forests, birds, and astonishing landscapes. The complex of Koguryo Tombs is a truly fascinating ancient site rich in history. It offers us a rare glimpse of ancient Korean culture and mythology.
Between the fifth and seventh centuries B.C. , Goguryeo became one of the strongest kingdoms in the north east of China and the Korean Peninsula.
Goguryeo was one of the ancient Three Kingdoms of Korea and the empire was very powerful. The two other ancient kingdoms were Baekje and Silla and all these three kingdoms were arch rivals.
The emergence of these three kingdoms brought about a unified Korean peninsula in the years to come.
During a period of 700 years, 26 kings ruled the ancient kingdom and they did their best to make the empire prosperous and bring a difference in the lives of their people. Due to the number of conflict and invasions often taking place in this region, the Goguryeo kingdom had a well-organized military unit and people skilled in the art of warfare.
Today, there is not much left of the magnificent Goguryeo kingdom, expect for beautiful complex of ancient tombs that offer a rare glimpse into the national treasures of North Korea.
Located in and around the city of Ji’an in China, the tombs of the ancient Koguryo Kingdom were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are about 10,000 Goguryeo tombs and about 90 of them have remarkable wall paintings that can be admired and give an insight into daily life of the vanished Koguryo culture. It is believed that these paintings were made in memory of the kings or members of the royal family and they are the only source of understanding the history and culture of this country.
The Koguryo Tombs are located in Pyongyang and surrounding provinces and they can be found mainly in at the foot of mountains and some in villages. The entire complex includes both groups and individual tombs that are built of stone and covered with stone or earthern mounds.
Inside the complex of Koguryo tombs we can find single chamber, two chambers, and multi-chambers with side chambers and these ancient resting places were especially built for kings, members of the royal family and the aristocracy.
Unfortunately, many of the ancient tombs have been looted and there are still several that have not been examined by scientists.
However, those that remain largely intact and the wall paintings possess sufficient integrity display images telling stories about ancient burial customs, daily life and beliefs of the Koguryo culture.
The Koguryo kingdom is long lost, but certainly not forgotten.