Situated just a few kilometers from Panjunmon and the Demilitarized Zone is the city of Kaesong. Aside from being the site of plenty of exchanges between the DPRK and the south, as well as the Kaesong Industrial Park, the city was the capitol of the Koryo Dynasty between 918 and 1392 (the name “Koryo” later gave birth to “Korea”). The stunning mountains and landscape of Kaesong make it a place to easily feel at peace in and you will quickly see why it has been given the UNESCO World Heritage Site stamp of approval.
The first stop in this historic city will be the Koryo Museum, the site of the Songgyungwan which was the main teaching institute during both the Koryo and Chosun dynasties.Well preserved to this day, the Songgyungwan includes one of the largest wooden buildings in Korea. Opened in 992, the institution went on to the be the principle educational center for studies in Confuscianism.
After exploring the Koryo Museum, you will have the opportunity to see the tomb of King Kongmin, ruler of Koryo from 1351 to 1374. Kongmin was known for his efforts to reestablish the independence of Koryo in the aftermath of Mongol occupation and for his advocation of land reform.His tomb is one of many belonging to members of royalty located in Kaesong.
The site of Manwoldae Palace that was the royal residence during the Koryo dynasty is currently being excavated by archeologists from both sides of the DMZ. It is the largest project involving southern and northern researchers working side by side since 1945. Manwoldae is one of the most important sites in the history of Korea and was given the title of World Heritage Site in 2013.
The evening in Kaesong will allow you the chance to wind down with traditional Korean accommodation. The Folk Customs Hotel consists of 19 houses constructed in classic “hanok” style within a serene complex that dates back to the Joseun Dynasty that ruled Korea prior to 1897. Here you will experience the custom of sleeping on extremely comfortable padded mats with “ondol” underfloor heating. In addition, stock up on some souvenirs at the hotel shop and enjoy classic Korean cuisine and drink at the Folk Customs restaurant.