Saturday, May 9, 2009

071118 - Jongmyo Royal Shrine

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Since I woke up early, I made a sudden change of my travel itinerary and visited a nearby attraction, Jongmyo Royal Shrine. It’s a 20 minutes stroll from Insadong. Upon arriving at the destination, I saw a group of elderly folks waiting for the ticket booth to open at 9am. The admission fee is 1000won.

Jongmyo Royal Shrine was built in 1394 by King Taejo and is the worship place for the kings and queens of Joseon Dynasty. This shrine was listed in the UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage because of the tradition and customs that are well preserved such as memorial services and traditional music. Before entering the shrine, you will see four solid round standing pillars.

After entering the shrine, you will notice the path is different, where the middle path is slightly raised as compared to the left and right. According to the brochure, the middle road is for the dead kings, the right one is for the king and the left one is for the prince.

Shrine of King Gongmin

20 thick round pillars of Jeongjeon, the main hall

Royal Ancestral Rite was one of the most important government events and was held five times a year. During the Joseon Dynasty, the ancestral rite still keep intact with the original procedures for offering of sacrificial gifts of food and drink in authentic ritual utensils, with royal descendents and participants costumed by rank, as well as ritual dance and music ensembles. Something similar with Tomb Sweeping day (Qing Ming).

Jeongjeon is where mortuary tablets of kings and queens are preserved and memorial services are held. This traditional ceremony is the oldest complete ceremony in the world. Too bad, the ceremony is held only once a year in May.

There are 19 tablets of kings and 30 of their queens, placed in 19 rooms

Outside the compound of Jongmyo, there is a Jongmyo Hamabi which is a commandment stone that everybody passing Jongmyo should get off their horse to respect ancestors honor. This is written on the stone.

It’s already 10am and I took a Subway Line 1 at Jongno 3 Subway Station nearby to Noryangjin Subway Station (cost only 1000won) to the largest fish market in Seoul, Noryangjin Fish Market.

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