Koryo Museum

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Kaesong, North Korea

Koryo Museum Kaesong Reviews

wabat wabat
160 reviews
Koryo Museum Feb 17, 2017
This large complex of buildings (currently nearly 20) originally dates from 992 when the site housed the Taemyon Palace which later became an imperial guest-house and then the Bureau for Confucian Doctrines. In 1089 it became ‘the Kakjagam’ or highest centre of learning in Kaesong for those seeking to enter the civil service. Children of the aristocracy attended this centre of Confucian learning throughout the Koryo period and the subsequent Ri period which ended in the late 19th century.

The Kakjagam was renamed the Songyungwan Academy in 1308 but was brunt down during the failed Japanese Invasion of 1592 –the Imjin War. Thus, Kim Il-sung wasn’t the first Korean to have to deal with a Japanese Invasion. The Academy was rebuilt in 1602 and since 1987 it has been the site of the Koryo museum.

In addition the admiring the beautiful Confucian buildings set in tranquil grounds containing two 500 year old Ginkgo trees and a 900 year old Zelkova tree, all of which miraculously escaped destruction during the 1950-1953 Korean War, the museum houses a modest, but interesting, array of pottery, iron work and other archaeological finds and relics from the Koryo period, in addition to charting the history and evolution of Kaesong itself.

Also here is a reconstruction of the interior King Kongmin’s tomb which we had visited (exterior only open) earlier in the morning.

While the museum principally covers the period prior to Japan’s occupation of the country in 1910, the curators clearly could not resist the inclusion of a few more modern exhibits. My final photograph is of an early 1900’s Japanese chart showing the monetary value placed on Korean men, women, children and oxen. I selected this chart to show you rather than a more unsavoury painting of marauding Japanese slaughtering innocent Koreans.

We were guided through the museum by a local guide – a rather dour and uninspiring one, if I were to be honest. Nonetheless an interesting place to visit, if only for the old buildings - though there is more to the museum than the buildings. It is a welcome break from the "Kim Il-sung trail'.
Koryo Museum
Koryo Museum
Koryo Museum - From a former temp…
Koryo Museum -King Kongmin' Tomb …
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wabat wabat
160 reviews
Koryo Museum + Outside Museum: 'Ginseng and Stamps' Feb 17, 2017
While you are visiting the Koryo Museum there are two shops, one within the museum complex and one just outside of it worthy a look.

The museum’s gift shop (picture 1) is located within a small and pretty courtyard within the museum grounds. Get your ginseng fix here. The Kaesong area is renowned for the quality of its ginseng and while this shop has on sale a number of other trinkets and the like its primary product is ginseng and ginseng derivatives. Ginseng (picture 2) is a herb that has been used for thousands of years, especially in eastern countries, to improve people’s overall health. Perhaps of particular interest to readers of advancing years, ginseng is adjudged one of the most effective anti-aging supplements currently available.

Outside the museum complex is a rather unprepossessing building (picture 3) the plainness of which belies its relevance to the tourist as possibly the best philatelic shop in North Korea (location, location, location means nothing in opening a business in North Korea). This shop is certainly worth a look if you want to pick up some stamps for your own collection or as presents for others. In addition to stamps, it has a decent selection of art, T-shirts, local ginseng products and a reasonable range of propaganda postcards and mini-posters.

I picked up a beautiful hardback book of thematically displayed stamps (picture 5 - arts theme with Pyongyang Grand Theatre as the background) some smaller stamp sets and individual stamps together with a selection of propaganda postcards (picture 5). And, before you ask, no, I do not know what the cards say but I could, as I am sure you can, make a fair guess based on the pictures.
Koryo Museum - Gift Shop
Koryo Museum - Shop Outside Museu…
North Korean Stamp Collection
Airportman Airportm…
230 reviews
Former confucian educational instuation May 04, 2010
The Koryo Museum was once a confucian educational institution, teaching the confucianist studies to children of nobles, so they could become officials in the Koryo Government.

The museum features 12 main buildings and 6 additional ones which feature all kinds of objects which are related to the Koryo area of that time.

We visited the complex for about an hour, visiting the halls like the Myongryun Hall and the Taesong Hall. The site looked well preserved. The paintings we did see were in my opinion very good and detailed, but most likely copies of the original ones.

As all the visits to the various sites were included in the tour, it was unknown to me about the costs. That's why I made them free.
Map of the Koryo Museum
The Koryo Museum
Display of the Koryo Museum
Airportman says:
I really don't know if you're right or not
Posted on: Mar 26, 2011
dqfn1 says:
If I'm not mistaken this might be the oldes museum of the world... at least I know a museum that looks just like the building you've photographed is actually the oldest existing museum of the world.
Posted on: Mar 26, 2011

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1 review
photo by: wabat