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Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo Shrine

Jongmyo is the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal shrines to have been preserved. Dedicated to the forefathers of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), the shrine has existed in its present form since the 16th century and houses tablets bearing the teachings of members of the former royal family. Ritual ceremonies linking music, song and dance still take place there, perpetuating a tradition that goes back to the 14th century.

Sanctuaire de Jongmyo

Jongmyo, dédié aux ancêtres de la dynastie Joseon (1392-1910), est le plus ancien et le plus authentique des sanctuaires royaux confucéens conservés aujourd'hui. Son aspect actuel date du XVIe siècle. Il abrite des tablettes portant les enseignements des membres de l'ancienne famille royale. Des cérémonies rituelles associant musique, chant et danse s'y déroulent encore, perpétuant une tradition remontant au XIVe siècle.

ضريح غيونغ ميو

يعتبر ضريح غيونغ ميو الملكي الذي بني تكريماً لملوك شوزونوملكاتها (1392-1910) أقدم الأضرحة الملكية الكونفوشيوسية وأكثرها أصالة، علماً ان مظهره الحالي يعود الى القرن السادس عشر. وهو يحوي ألواحاً كتبت عليها تعاليم أعضاء الأسرة الملكية السابقة، أما الطقوس التي تجمع بين الموسيقى والغناء والرقص فلا تزال تمارس حتى اليوم تخليداً لتقليد يرتقي الى القرن الرابع عشر.

source: UNESCO/ERI



source: UNESCO/ERI

Храм Чонмё

Чонмё – это старейший и наиболее сохранившийся королевский конфуцианский храм в Корее. Посвященный основателям династии Чосон (1392-1910 гг.), храм существует в его современном виде с начала XVI в. Здесь помещены дощечки, содержащие поучения членов бывшего королевского семейства. В храме всё ещё происходят ритуальные церемонии с музыкой, песнями и танцами, увековечивающие традицию, уходящую корнями в XIV в.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Santuario de Jongmyo

Dedicado a los antepasados de la dinastía Choson (1392-1910), Jongmyo es el más antiguo de los santuarios reales confucianos conservados hoy. También es el más auténtico, ya que ha preservado la misma configuración que tenía en el siglo XVI. Alberga tabletas en las que están inscritas las enseñanzas de los miembros de la familia real. Todavía se celebran en su recinto ceremonias rituales acompañadas de música, cantos y danzas, con lo cual se perpetúa una tradición que data del siglo XIV.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ

Jongmyo heiligdom

Jongmyo is het oudste en meest authentieke confucianistische koninklijke heiligdom dat bewaard is gebleven. Het heiligdom is opgedragen aan de voorvaderen van de Joseon dynastie (1392-1910) en bestaat sinds de 16e eeuw in zijn huidige vorm. Het huisvest tabletten met de leer van de voormalige koningen en koninginnen van de Joseon dynastie en bestaat uit een hoofdruimte, gebouwen, faciliteiten en constructies, die dienden om rituelen te kunnen uitvoeren. Het heiligdom is omgeven door een bos. De rituele ceremoniën – daterend uit de 14e eeuw – brengen muziek, zang en dans samen en worden nog steeds uitgevoerd op deze plek.

Source: unesco.nl

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Jongmyo Shrine © CHA
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Jongmyo is a shrine housing the spirit tablets of the former kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. The shrine is a symbolic structure that conveys the legitimacy of the royal family, where the king visited regularly to participate in the ancestral rites to wish for the safety and security of the people and state. Jongmyo is the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal ancestral shrines, with a unique spatial layout that has been preserved in its entirety. It was originally built in the late 14th century, but was destroyed during the Japanese invasion during the 16th century, and was rebuilt in the early 17th century with a few expansions made to the buildings thereafter.

Jongmyo and its grounds occupy a 19.4 ha oval site. The buildings are set in valleys and surrounded by low hills, with artificial additions built to reinforce the site’s balance of natural elements, in accordance with traditional pungsu principles. The main features of Jongmyo are Jeongjeon (the main shrine), and Yeongnyeongjeon (the Hall of Eternal Peace, an auxiliary shrine). Other features include Mangmyoru, a wooden structure where the king thought about the ancestral kings in memory; Gongmingdang, the shrine to the Goryeo King Gongmin, built by the Joseon King Taejo; Hyangdaecheong, the storage building for ritual utensils; and Jaegung, a main hall with two wings, where the King and participants waited for the rites to take place. Jongmyo was built faithfully abiding by the Confucian ideology of ancestral worship and its ritual formalities under strict royal supervision, and still maintains its original form dating from the Joseon Dynasty.

Traditions of ancestral worship rites – Jongmyo Jerye, are still carried out, together with the accompanying ritual music and dance performance. Construction and management of Jongmyo, and the operations of Jongmyo Jerye rituals, are all meticulously recorded in the royal protocols of the Joseon Dynasty.


Criterion (iv): Jongmyo Shrine is an outstanding example of the Confucian royal ancestral shrine, which has survived relatively intact since the 16th century, the importance of which is enhanced by the persistence there of an important element of the intangible cultural heritage in the form of traditional ritual practices and forms.



Jongmyo Shrine is composed of a main ritual space, buildings and facilities, together with auxiliary structures and facilities that serve supportive functions in the conduct of rituals, and is surrounded by a forest. The entire complex of buildings and landscape features has been included within the boundaries of the property, and the complex is surrounded by a buffer zone.

The buildings are generally in good condition. The greatest risk factor with respect to the protection of the wooden architecture of Jongmyo is fire.

Beyond the buffer zone of the property, there is considerable modern urbanization. The construction of high-rise buildings in these areas could adversely affect site-lines within Jongmyo.

The Royal Ancestral Rite and Ritual Music of Jongmyo continue to be performed annually and are designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage. The preservation of the music, dance and ritual is carried out by the National Gugak Center, and the Jongmyo Jerye Safeguarding Society. 



Jongmyo maintains a high degree of authenticity, having conserved both its physical form and traditional ritual practices. The site layout and architecture of Jongmyo have been kept intact in the original form, and the ancestral ritual music and dance have been handed down and continue to be regularly performed.

Rebuilt in the 17th century, Jongmyo has been expanded twice to enshrine the increasing number of ancestors.  As with most buildings within the wooden architecture tradition of East Asia, the buildings have undergone a number of restorations involving dismantling and reconstruction. There has, however, been scrupulous respect for materials and techniques, which makes them authentic in this respect.


Protection and management requirements

The entire area of Jongmyo Shrine and the individual buildings of Jeongjeon and Yeongnyeongjeon have been designated as State-designated Cultural Heritage under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, which imposes restrictions on alterations to the property.

The area extending 100 m from the boundary of Jongmyo is protected under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act and also by the Jongno-gu district office regulation as a Historic Cultural Environment Protection Area, and all construction within the area requires approval.

The Royal Ancestral Rite of Jongmyo together with the accompanying Ritual Music has been designated by the State as Important Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Jongmyo Jerye Safeguarding Society is designated as the major practicing group by the Cultural Heritage Administration and under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act receives subsidies and assistance in safeguarding the ritual.

At the national level, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) is responsible for establishing and enforcing policies for the protection of Jongmyo, and allocating financial resources for its conservation. The Jongmyo Management Office, with a staff of approximately 25 employees, is in charge of day-to-day management of the site. Routine monitoring is carried out and in-depth professional monitoring is conducted on a 3-to-4 year basis.

The area around Jongmyo is managed by the Urban Planning Division, Traffic Policy Division and Cultural Heritage Division of the Seoul Metropolitan City, which work in cooperation. Seoul City periodically revises the Basic Scenery Plan and District Unit Plan for the areas surrounding Jongmyo, recommending systematic management policies and work plans.

Conservation work at Jongmyo is carried out by Cultural Heritage Conservation Specialists who have passed the National Certification Exams in relevant fields of expertise. The CHA is implementing the Integrated Security System Establishment Plan for the 5 Palaces and Jongmyo, in place since 2009, in preparation for accidents and/or disasters that could harm the heritage.

The general public is allowed to enter the heritage area on guided tours only, and access to the interior of the buildings is prohibited.