In the history of Joseon Dynasty, there was no place more important than Jongmyo Shrine, where the spirit tablets of deceased kings and queens were enshrined and ancestral rites were held. The first duty of a newly inaugurated king was to visit Jongmyo Shrine and Sajik Altar to bow in front of the spirits and gods.
Simple in construction, the halls of the tablets were extended in length over time, and while majestic, its architecture evokes solemnity. The Jongmyo Daeje, an ancestral rite that was held during the Joseon era, was a national event and foundation of the ruling order. Also known as Jongmyo Jerye, the ritual was registered as an Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Korea no. 56 in 1975. UNESCO designated the Jongmyo Shrine a World Heritage Site in 1995.
If the palaces are splendid, Jongmyo is simple yet solemn.
The shrine's gambrel roofs display an especially outstanding example of traditional Korean architecture. The shrine consists of Jeongjeon Hall, where the spirit tablets are enshrined and the rites are held, Yeongnyeongjeon Hall (Hall of Eternal Peace), which wishes a long and peaceful abode for both ancestors and descendants, and Jeonsacheong Area, Jaegung Area, Hyangdaecheong, Gongsindang Hall and more.
※ Tours to the shrine must be accompanied by a cultural asset commentator (except on Saturdays, please see below)
※ English tours are available at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm
※ Free tours without a guide are available only on Saturdays
-February-May, September-October: 9am-6pm
(Last entry one hour before closing)