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A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and dedicated place of worship of kings and queens from the Joseon Dynasty (1310-1910), the Jongmyo Shrine is a historical delight steeped in royal tradition.
Built in 1394 by King Taejo, the Jongmyo’s classic architecture is believed to be the oldest Confucian sanctuary and the world’s longest single wooden structure, measuring 109 metres in length. The Jongmyo has been re-built and expanded since its initial build but most of the complex maintains its authentic form. The main features are two shrine halls, the Yeongnyeongjeon (hall of eternal peace) and Jeongjeon (main hall) which enshrine tablets of late kings and queens, containing their spirits and emphasising the solemnity of the shrine.
Not only is the Jongmyo a World Heritage site, but the ancestral ceremonies performed here have also been recognised by UNESCO. The 14th Century Jongmyo Jerye, a royal ancestral ritual, along with court music performed during the ritual called Jeryeak have been placed as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and recognised for its Important Intangible Cultural Heritage. The ceremony takes place ever year on the first Sunday in May and is performed by the former Korean royal family.
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