Looking At A Country’s Past & Present to Understand Its Culture
By Ngina Muia
Culture is more than what we eat, the clothes we wear and the language we speak. It is the invisible bond that binds us together.The significance of preserving culture lies in its sense of belonging and the unity it offers. Tradition and cultural heritage are binding factors between the past and present generations.Kenya’s cultural barometer is found somewhere between the many tribes and different races, with their daily practices and resources. Given such diversity, the country is a tapestry of cultures woven together on a masterpiece.With history and cultural traditions dating back to the pre-historic era, a visit to one of these places will take you into the past and offer you a glimpse into Kenya’s cultural story:
- Gedi ruins and Museum .Rich in history of the Swahili-Arab coast, this abandoned Swahili-Arab city museum may have existed as early as the 13th century.
2. Fort Jesus Museum.Is a 16th century fort built by the Portuguese to protect their trade route to India and their interests in East Africa.
3.Karen Blixen Museum. Built in 1912, and former home to Danish author, poet and artist – Karen Blixen, it was made famous by the Oscar Award winning film, ‘Out Of Africa’, based on Karen’s writings of her Kenyan experiences.
Nairobi National Museum and Snake Park
4. Nairobi National Museum. A world class museum (initiated in 1910) showcasing Kenya’s history, nature, culture and contemporary art in all its beauty.
5.The Bomas of Kenya. The word ‘boma’ is a Swahili word for ‘homestead.’ It is a cultural ‘village’,’ displaying traditional homesteads that do belong to various tribes in Kenya. It was built using traditional specifications. Through architecture, crafts, music and dance, it endeavors to preserve Kenya’s diverse culture.
In the Republic of Korea, most people belong to the same ethnic category with a few exceptions of the Chinese, Japanese and Westernersin the country. The country prides itself in a historical and cultural background that has survived thousands of years and still continues to, thanks to the dedicated efforts of its government and people to preserve their history.
The most popular cultural sites in South Korea are also found in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. These are:
1.Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa temple. A religious architectural complex established in the 8th century at the height of the United Silla dynasty.
2.Changdeokgung Palace Complex. Dating from 1405, it is the oldest of Seoul’s Royal palaces that served as the main palace for 300 years during the reign of Chosun dynasty.
3.Jongmyo Shrine. Established in the 14th Century, it is the oldest royal Confucian shrine where memorial ceremonies were done for dead Kings and Queens of the Korean Joseon dynasty (1392 – 1897).
4.Hwaseong Fortress. It was built from 1794 – 1796 by King Jeongjo of the Joseon dynasty to provide shelter for and to honor the remains of his father, Prince Sado. Prince Sadohad been executed by being locked alive inside a rice chest by his own father King Yeongjo after failing to obey the command to commit suicide.
5.Cheomseongdae .Is an astronomical observatory ruin that dates back to 632 A.D. during the reign of Queen Seon-deok to observe stars in order to forecast the weather
For more cultural experiences in Kenya and the Republic of Korea, one can check out the following attractions.
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Historic villages of Korea: Hahoe Folk Village &Yangdong
- Royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty
- Baekje Historic areas
- Gyeongju Historic Areas
- Lamu Old Town
- Mijikenda Kaya Forests
- Maasai Market
- Lake Turkana National Parks
- Mount Kenya National Park