Jongmyo Shrine

Seoul, South Korea

Jongmyo Shrine

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Jongmyo (Hangul: 종묘; Hanja: 宗廟) is a Confucian shrine dedicated to the perpetuation of memorial services for the deceased kings and queens of the Korean Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). According to UNESCO, the shrine is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. Such shrines existed during the Three Kingdoms of Korea period (57–668), but these have not survived. The Jongmyo Shrine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995.

Jongmyo is adjacent to Changdeok Palace and Changgyeong Palace in the south. They used to be connected in the Joseon period, but were separated by a road built by Japanese colonists. Currently, there is a construction plan to recover the original structure of the shrine. The main buildings of Jongmyo were constructed in October 1394 when Taejo, founder and first king of Joseon, moved the capital to Hanseong (present-day Seoul). The shrine was destroyed by fire in the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), then rebuilt in early 1600s.

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