This idyllic sanctuary of Chongmyo, 'Jongmyo', in the heart of the South Korean's capital of Seoul, is a place of peaceful meditation and for almost the entire year the ancient shrine is deserted, its buildings and courtyards silent, little indicating the unique importance of this sacred building.
Jongmyo was built in 1395 as an ancestral shrine in order to commemorate the spirits of the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty.
Great festivities once took place in Jongmyo and today, the sanctuary often fills with life and each first Sunday in May is set aside for a regal ceremony of ancestral worship. It is then that the shrines and their ancestral plates become the centre of dignified festivities.
As in days of old, in the Hall Of Eternal Peace, the deceased Korean monarchs of the Joseon Dynasty are entertained with music and sacrifices.
Although the Joseon Dynasty hasnít ruled here for more than a century, the traditions and rituals of Jongmyo continue to play an important role in the cultural life of the Korean people.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.