Seonjeongneung Royal Tombs & Armed Soldiers Patrol

Trip Start Aug 16, 2013
Trip End Aug 25, 2013

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Another attraction about a ten minute walk west of the Coex mall is the Seonjeongneung Royal Tombs. This was my last stop of the day and I thought it would be just a park with a couple of round burial mounds but turned out to be quite interesting. 

Entrance fee is 1000w ($1) and best to follow their map as the park is quite big so you dont want to wander aimlessly on the paths.

Just by the entrance is a small building housing an history centre. Its all in korean but this is the only place you will get a clear shot of the burial statues as access to the mounds is not allowed. 

I thought the mounds would just be round hills like in Gyeongju but there were more interesting as they had stone guardians arranged in front of the mounds. 

I followed the path to the first mound. Along the way I was noticing many armed soldiers. Their presence was large all over the city due to the Nuclear Summit being held this week which Obama and many world leaders were attending. 

After being told not to take a picture of the soldiers two chased after me in the park. They had a laminated card with english and korean phrases. 

The first was 'hello, how are you doing?'. I told him to show me the next one. 'You are inside the restricted security zone for the nuclear summit'. Yes, I know that, show me the next one. 'Please place your bag on the scanner for inspection'. 

I tried indicating and asking in korean where was his scanner? We are standing in the middle of a park??. They wanted to look inside my oversize backpack. 

I opened and showed them my overnight stuff and why it was stuffed from all the gifts I was given at the bloggers welcoming ceremony friday, along with the dragon I had painted at the National Museum. Satisfied they politely thanked me and let me go.   

There was a large wooden gate with a long stone path leading to a small building, behind which the burial mound was. You could only go as far as the building and the mound is closed off to public access 

Traditional ancestral rites are conducted in the building and there were photos illustrating. This was similar to the ancestral ceremonies I had seen when I went to the Jongmyo Daeje ceremonies on May 1. 

(See Blog Entry Jongmyo Daeje ) 

The brochure says this first tomb is for King Jungjong. Going back to the entrance gate this will then take you back to the other two tombs on the other end of the park, hence the need to use the map. 

Again there were more soldiers patrolling so I discretely took another pic but avoided taking any further and getting into more trouble. It seemed odd that they were all in the park instead of out on the streets.

There were elderly wardens in coats around the park and one came over to me speaking some english. He explained these tombs were from the Joseon Dynasty, not the Shilla Dynasty of Gyeongju. Hence the stone statues which Gyeongju does not have. 

He told me there was access to the two mounds on this side of the park. Also the soldiers were patrolling as this was one of the places the people attending the Nuclear Summit will be visiting. 

The two tombs on this side of the park are for King Seongjong and his second Queen Jeonghyeon. There is a viewing area on the side of the mound so you do not get a clear view as you cant view from the centre.     

There are two figures on each side and animals facing the path that will lead to the tombs. It was now sunset so hard to take pics as from the side I was it was direct sun into the camera. 

This site is definately worth visiting and completely different from the burial mounds in Gyeongju which are just round grassy hills. 

There is also a website for the site 

After this I had already bought a ticket for the bellydance dinner show back in Itaewon. I had been to this previously in July and wrote about it in detail then

(See Blog Entry Seoul Bellydance Show  )  

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