Since the unification of Germany in 1990, Korean Peninsula has been the one and only divided country existing in the world. From the end of Korean War (lasted from 1950 to 1953), Korean Peninsula was divided by Armistice Agreement of both countries and the countries that took part in. Being divided into South Korea (Republic Of Korea) and North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) has always drawn a lot of attentions nationwide and worldwide. Numerous special situations have been triggered because of this division and one of them is the formation of DMZ.
DMZ, an abbreviated form for Demilitarized zone, is a region designated by international treaty where neither weapons nor armies are allowed. Korea’s DMZ covers the northern and southern spam of 2 kilometers along the MDL (Military Division Line) of 250 kilometers. But after 60 years of division, having a lot of aggressions, military threats and arguments, there are several places where both North and South don’t keep the 2 kilometers’ distance. Formation of DMZ has been initiated from 1953 July 27th when Armistice Agreement was settled down. UN that lead the Armistice Agreement in Korean peninsula now takes care of the southern area of DMZ.
Considering that it is a very tense area where you can be as close as you can to North Korea, there are quite a lot of regulations when entering there. First, no matter what purpose it is, for an army or even civilian to enter there, they need permission from Military Armistice Commission. Permissions for entry, field study in case of a military aggression and everything related are all handled by UN. Second, the total number of people allowed at one time’s visit in DMZ can’t be more than 1000 in any circumstance.
Last but not least they are banned from carrying any kind of weapons.
However, being isolated from industrialization for 60 years gave a chance for DMZ to create its own unique kind of scenery and ecosystem. It has beautiful valleys, mountains and lakes where it didn’t encounter any touch of human being for half a century. It also has a very stable habitation of animals that are endangered or extinct in other places of Asia. DMZ’s isolation for 60 years brought up lots of political, military conflicts but it led DMZ to be the shelter for many endangered species.
Other attractions are the historical remains. Since it is located in the center of peninsula, area of DMZ did its important role for centuries, for many dynasties. Thanks to the existence of DMZ, a lot of remains are kept intact from any possible military aggression caused by South and North Korea or destruction that can be caused by industrialization. Among those remains, the famous ones are Odu fortress, Dangpo Castle and Yeoncheon Jungok Li remains.
However, DMZ is not just a place for animals and historic remains. It is also a place where recent histories were made and where new histories are being made. There they have Dora observatory where you can see GeSeong city and SongAk Mountain of North Korea and the 3rd tunnel that was made by North Korea with the purpose of sending spies and armies to South Korea. This tunnel was spotted in 1978. There were 1st and 2nd tunnels that were found before, with almost the same size but the 3rd tunnel is considered the most threatening taking its location into account. In these places, you can feel the 60 years’ history of division in one sight.
Post about tour in DMZ area will be made at #2.