In the heart of the Gangnam district of Seoul lies a World Heritage Site, Seonjeongneung. It’s the burial place of two kings and one queen. The oldest tomb belongs to King Seongjong (d. 1494). His queen (and second wife) Jeonghyeon (d. 1530) outlived him by many decades, but is buried here too, since she is the one who gave birth to his successor, King Jungjong (d. 1544). The married king and queen’s tombs are quite close to each other, and quite similar in design, with statues of men and animals surrounding the tombs. The son’s tomb is at the opposite end of the park, and seems quite lonely there. It appears to be the same as his parents, but it was difficult to tell as we could not climb to the top of his tomb, unlike the others. These tombs are a smaller sample of the numerous royal burial sites scattered around Korea, all of which are part of the UNESCO World Heritage listing. I had hoped to visit a couple more on my visit, but in the end, only managed to get to this site.
This is a huge park and is used by the locals for walks, exercise, and just general hanging out. There were plenty of families and gaggles of old ladies when I came here in the late afternoon. There are plenty of paths to choose from when walking from one tomb to the other. As I wandered throughout the property, I constantly came across (older) folks stretching and doing various exercises. Overall it was a pleasant place to visit, especially if you need a break from city life.
Monuments: None really, there are a few statues at the tops of the tombs, but they can only be photographed from behind the fence.
Grounds: It’s a large park that features three tombs. There are open spaces and lots of trees. It’s a very nice place to walk around.
Visitors: There were plenty of people here when I was visiting, but not oppressively so.
Photographer notes: As I was here in the late afternoon there were long shadows that provided some interesting light in the trees and buildings. Otherwise there’s not much to photograph here.
Location: 1 Seolleung-ro 100-gil, Samseong 2(i)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Hours: 06:00-21:00, there is a nominal fee to enter the park
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