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Cultural assets checked after quake in Gyeongju

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<span>An official takes a look at a stone beam of Dabotap, a 1,200-year-old Buddhist pagoda in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday, which fell off after a 5.8-magnitude quake hit the historic city. / Yonhap</span><br /><br />
An official takes a look at a stone beam of Dabotap, a 1,200-year-old Buddhist pagoda in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday, which fell off after a 5.8-magnitude quake hit the historic city. / Yonhap

By Kwon Mee-yoo


The Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) has begun safety checks of cultural properties, including UNESCO World Heritage sites Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple, following the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that hit the southeastern city of Gyeongju Monday night.

Gyeongju is a treasure trove of cultural heritage as the city was the capital of the Silla Kingdom (B.C. 57-935 A.D.).

The city has around 990 cultural properties including 15 ancient temples and a handful of important cultural assets such as royal tombs.

"We started checking up on the cultural assets Tuesday morning," a CHA official said.

The National Cultural Properties Research Institute, a CHA affiliate, said it will investigate cultural assets with national treasures such as Seokguram and Bulguksa as its top priority.
<span>Cultural officials check Cheomseongdae, a 1,300-year-old astronomical observatory, in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday. / Yonhap</span><br /><br />
Cultural officials check Cheomseongdae, a 1,300-year-old astronomical observatory, in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Tuesday. / Yonhap

There were a few reports of earthquake damage including three broken roof tiles at Daeungjeon, National Treasure No. 1,744 and the main hall of Bulguksa.


The Oreung Royal Tombs, Historic Site No. 172, also had some tiles damaged.

A rock slide occurred at the access point to Seokguram, National Treasure No. 24, but the CHA said no damage to the cultural properties was found as of Tuesday morning.

National Treasure No. 31 Cheomseongdae, the world's oldest surviving observatory, was also suspected of being damaged as people witnessed the tower being jolted during the quake, but the observatory proved its construction was earthquake-resistant.

"We will cooperate with regional governments to conduct an exhaustive survey on cultural assets and report the results as they come in," the CHA said.

Kwon Mee-yoo meeyoo@koreatimes.co.kr


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