The Koryo Museum is an open air museum complex in the city of Kaesong, to the south of the DPRK and near the DMZ. The Museum covers the site of what was the Songgyungwan Academy, a centre of ancient learning and instruction during the Koryo Dynasty in the 11th century AD. Kaesong was at this point in time the capital of all Korea and consequentially, the museum reflects that legacy. It is a UNESCO approved world heritage site. The facility is normally always visited as part of North Korea tours after the group has visited the DMZ. It provides a refreshing, historical alternative to sites more affiliated with the regime.
What to expect
Compared to other tourist sites in North Korea, the Koryo Museum is lightweight, relaxing and less imposing. Tourists will be guided around the complex by a local guide, whom will introduce them to a number of buildings; including the site’s temple. Visitors will get to see artifacts on display from the Koryo Dynasty, including weaponry, coinage, everyday tools, clothing and reconstructions of the tombs of the Koryo Kings. The political message of the centre will be implicit, than explicit; with an emphasis upon its feudal life as a contrast to the present day. Whilst walking around the museum gardens, tourists may spot rare scenes such as local weddings taking place.
After the tour of the museum, the group will get the opportunity to attend a gift shop. This shop sells modern day replicas of Koryo style ceramics, as well as other goods. After the first shop, tourists will then be led into the “Korea Stamp” shop just outside of the entrance. The shop contains a wide variety of stamp albums, postcodes, dvds, paintings and other souvenirs. After spending some time shopping around, it’s then time to return to the bus and move on!