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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The amazing but little-known civilisation of Koguryo

I had a very hectic but fruitful day.  Began the day by exploring the remains of the little-known ancient kingdom of Koguryo in the Chinese city of Ji'an on the border with North Korea.  The Koguryo empire bena in 37 BC and was destroyed by the combination of Tang Chinese and Sila Korean forces in 668 AD.  At its height, the empire controlled what is today all of northeast China and most of the Korean Peninsula.  Yet, they were almost completely forgotten by everybody after their destruction. The people of Koguryo built magnificent stone fortresses and pyramidal tombs across what is today Northeast China and North Korea, in particular, in their capital in what is today the Chinese city of Ji'an.  Due to their remote location and mysterious history, they were practically unknown to most of the world, even to most Chinese when they were declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.  

I walked among the grassy basin where dozens of Koguryo pyramidal tombs were located, amazed by the serenity of the basin and the perfect harmony with the mountains and the river that surround it.  I walked into another ancient tomb and gawked at the colourful murals and the one and a half millennium that has lapsed.  Ji'an is a difficult place to reach - I got there on a 8hr bus and out of it by another 6 hr bus, but the ruins of Koguryo are not to be missed!

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

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