Seolleung Park Royal Tombs
Seolleung Park Royal Tombs information
Lonely Planet review
The spirit tablets of the Joseon kings and queens are in Jongmyo, but their tombs are scattered all around Seoul. The tombs are elaborate but mostly underground, and were the scene of regular ceremonies to remember and honour the dead. Walk over to the first tomb, that of King Seongjong (r 1469–94), who was a prolific author and father – he had 28 children by 12 wives and concubines. He died in Changdeokgung. Go around the side and you can walk up to the tomb for a closer look. The statuary includes human and animal guardians – some of the latter look like sheep. The stone lanterns are to guide the king’s spirit home. It’s a short walk to the second tomb, that of King Seongjong’s second wife, Queen Jeonghyeon Wanghu , where you can also get a close-up look. A 10-minute walk further on through the thickly wooded park is the tomb of King Seongjong and Queen Jeonghyeon’s second son, King Jeongjong (r 1506–44). Although he ruled for 38 years he was a weak king and court factions held the real power, as they often did during the Joseon period. At this tomb you can see the full layout – the gateway and the double pathway to the pavilion where memorial rites were carried out – but you can’t go near to the tomb. From subway Exit 8 walk straight ahead for 500m and the entrance is on the right.