Dead Prince vs Condominiums

Several new high-rise buildings built too close to a UNESCO heritage site may have to be demolished.

Dead Prince vs Condominiums

Photo: Jangneung with condominiums under construction in the distance.  Credit: Office of the President.

Several new high-rise condos under construction in Gimpo, Gyeonggi-do Province 경기도 김포 are in danger of being leveled, as they illegally encroached on Jangneung 장릉, the tomb of Prince Wonjong 원종.

The third son of King Seonjo 선조, the 14th king of the Joseon Dynasty 조선왕조, Wonjong died in 1619, joined later by his wife in twin mounds that were designated as a UNESCO heritage site in 2009, along with other royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.

According to the regulations promulgated by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) 문화재청 in 2017, land within 500 meters of a cultural heritage site is considered a cultural heritage protection zone, where new constructions must be made without disturbing the aesthetics of the heritage site.

The developers, claiming that the CHA previously approved the construction, began building 20 story high-rise buildings, which are nearly complete. In July, however, the CHA ordered the construction to be halted on 20 buildings within the 500 meter radius.

On December 9, the CHA completed its review of the buildings, and ordered them to be significantly reduced in height – to as low as a single story for some of the buildings. The real estate developers are expected to file a legal challenge against the order.

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