Oops, slept in. Good thing we had seen the National Assembly all lighted on the night tour. Didn't have to make a separate trip to see the "capital."
We took the Metro to Jongmyo Shrine, first passing through a crowded park:
tour although it would be conducted in Korean; the next English language tour was still a couple hours away. But a man at the gate waved us over, took our tickets, and walked us in to join an English tour already in progress.
Jongmyo was the royal shrine to house the spirits of the royal ancestors/the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. It was first built in 1395, but burned in 1592. It was rebuilt in 1608. Each year there is a re-enactment of the ceremony to pay respect to the ancestors, which was originally performed by the king and the crown prince.
The Jongmyo Shrine was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and the ancestor worship ceremony (Jongmyo Jerye) was designated a UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001, as well as the music of the ceremony (Jongmyo Jeryeak).
We went to the Jaegung, a compound of three buildings where the king and crown prince prepared for the ceremony.
The Eojaesil was the king's chamber:
The king's sedan chair:
The Chanmakdan, a raised platform, is where the foods were inspected:
It was noted that decorations were kept at a minimum, to represent the solemnity of the shrine:
The sign reads: Please do not walk on this path. It is for spirits.
Onwards to Gyeongbokgung Palace.