World Heritage – Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes

World Heritage site of UNESCO

World Heritage site of UNESCO

There are a few Korean sites listed under UNESCO(United Nations Educational,Scientific and Culturral Organisation)’s World Heritage. They are mostly cultural sites and Jeju is the only natural site so far.

Below is the introduction of the site by UNESCO (

Outstanding Universal Value

Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes is a coherent serial property comprising three components.  The unequalled quality of the Geomunoreum lava tube system and the exhibition of diverse and accessible volcanic features in the other two components demonstrate a distinctive and important contribution to the understanding of global volcanism.

Criterion (vii): The Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is regarded as the finest such cave system in the world, has an outstanding visual impact even for those experienced with such phenomena. It displays the unique spectacle of multi-coloured carbonate decorations adorning the roofs and floors, and dark-coloured lava walls, partially covered by a mural of carbonate deposits.  The fortress-like Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone, with its walls rising out of the ocean, is a dramatic landscape feature, and Mount Halla, with its array of textures and colours through the changing seasons, waterfalls, display of multi-shaped rock formations and columnar-jointed cliffs, and the towering summit with its lake-filled crater, further adds to the scenic and aesthetic appeal.

Criterion (viii): Jeju has a distinctive value as one of the few large shield volcanoes in the world built over a hot spot on a stationary continental crust plate.  It is distinguished by the Geomunoreum lava tube system, which is the most impressive and significant series of protected lava tube caves in the world and includes a spectacular array of secondary carbonate speleothems (stalactites and other decorations), with an abundance and diversity unknown elsewhere within a lava cave.  The Seongsan Ilchulbong tuff cone has exceptional exposures of its structural and sedimentological characteristics, making it a world-class location for understanding Surtseyan-type volcanic eruptions.

The property is well managed and resourced, with a management plan in place for the period 2006-2010 and resources for its implementation.  Key management issues include avoiding potential agricultural impact on the underground environment and managing the high number of visitors to the property.  There is potential for further extension of the property to include other significant lava tube systems and volcanic features of Jeju.

Koreas say ” Seeing once is far better than listening hundred times”. Why don’t you just pack your stuff and fly to Jeju? You will know what it means.


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