Peter Bartholomew
Tuesday, March 8, 2016 -
7:30pm to 9:00pm
Second floor Residents’ Lounge, Somerset Palace
10,000 won for non-members and 5,000 won for students (with student ID); free for members



● WALLED CITIES & TOWNS, & (읍성~邑城)



The Untold Story: 1,800 Years of Korean Architectural Heritage & History Demolished in the 20th Century (Today, Out of Sight & Out of Mind!)

♣ Illustrated with maps, drawings (Royal Archives) & photos of sites today and during late Choson Period to early Japanese occupation period.

Korea’s countryside in the early 20th Century Korea was dominated everywhere by impressive walled cities, towns & villages, palatial provincial administrative centres resembling small palaces and royal palaces in the Kyongki Province region. The architecture was of palatial scale and style, similar to palaces in Seoul today.

Regrettably very little of this remains today. Most foreigners assume that Korea is a country without a significant architectural history beyond the palaces in Seoul and Buddhist temple compounds. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

During their occupation from 1910 to 1945 the Japanese authorities ordered and carried out the demolition of over 15,000 buildings in these royal compounds throughout Korea from the Manchurian border to Jeju Island, as part of their program to erase the magnificent architectural evidence of Korean independence and the authority and grandeur of the Korean royal (imperial) authority and sophistication and replace it with Japanese models.


Suwon Walled City ~ West Gate and Watch Tower

Until very recently Korean people themselves were unaware that these royal palace and administrative compounds existed, with their magnificent walls, pavilions and monumental buildings. Fortunately, during the past 10 years there has been a movement to recover part of what has been lost. Archeological excavations are taking place nation-wide to find the remains of building demolished by the Japanese. Town walls and pavilions are being restored / rebuilt and some of the major buildings reconstructed, following drawings and descriptions in the Chosun Royal Archives (Kyujanggak).

This lecture will introduce to the audience the vast scale of Korea’s provincial monumental architectural heritage pre-Japanese occupation using photos before demolitions and of the sites today, with explanations of the cultural, historical and architectural importance of this vast body of destroyed heritage.


The King’s chambers in Suwon Palace (“Haeng Kung”)

Peter Bartholomew has lived in Korea continuously since 1968 and has engaged in the study of Korean history, culture and architecture during most of that time. During the late 1960’s to early 70’s he lived in Kangnung on the estate of a branch of the Choson Dynasty royal family and was privileged to learn in depth about Choson period culture from the owner, a lady born in the late 1890’s. Since that time Peter has continued his research in the field and now is well known as an activist for heritage architecture preservation. In 2011 he received the Sejong Citation for Contributions to Korean Culture (from the Lee Myung Bak government) and now serves on the President Committee for Cultural Enrichment (문화융성위원회), working for improvement of better understanding of Korea’s traditional cultural attributes.


1870 Royal Archives Administrative Drawing: Anju Royal Provincial Government Centre




Jeju Royal Administration Centre



Remaining buildings of the Songchon Royal Administrative Compound ~ 1930’s




Haemi Town Walls, Gate and Defense Tower

Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

Email -

Find Us On...


Subscribe to Syndicate