We checked out early from our guesthouse but the manager let us leave our things while we try to make the most of our last day in Seoul and our flight is not until 9 in the evening.
Since we do not have definite plan for the day we just lazily roamed around the neighborhood.Two ladies were even kind enough to stop by and asked if we were doing okay, maybe we really looked lost. So, we decided to use the remainder of our integrated ticket.
Jongmyo Shrine is declared UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995. This is where the royal tablets were enshrined. It is the resting place of almost all Kings of Joseon Dynasty, except for two Kings and their Queens.
To go there, Take Subway Line 1 and get off at Jongno-3 Sam(ga) Station Exit 3 or Exit 11. Walk for another 10 minutes until you reach Jongmyo Shrine. Jongmyo, unlike the Palaces, is strictly on an-hour guided tour except: 1. Tuesdays – closed 2. Saturday – they allow you to tour on your own. Just like the Secret Garden in Changdeokgung, there are English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Tours and on schedule.
To this day, they still honor the spirits of the deceased Kings through a grand festival with traditional dances and abundant food they share to everyone which happens twice a year – every 1st sunday of May and 1st saturday of November.
Here, you will learn that the pathway at the main entrance is strictly prohibited to step on because it is where the spirits walk. Pathways are always divided into three where the center is always slightly elevated because it is where the King walks through.
It is also well noted that the Jongmyo Shrine is so simple compared to the Palaces, even the buildings and its paint (green and red) are so simple. Everything you see inside is symbolic down to the roofs.
The main hall, Jeongjeon, is the longest building ever built. It is composed of 19 chambers for the 19 ancestral tables of the Kings and their Queens. This is where they perform the ritual rites.Yeongnyeongjeon hall, the hall of eternal peace, holds 16 chambers. It was originally built (when the Jeongjeon could no longer hold anymore chambers) with only 6 chambers but has expanded since.
The Cathedral is just a walking distance away from where we stayed in Myeongdong. It is the main Catholic church in South Korea.
At four in the afternoon, we felt that it’s time to fetch our things and head to the airport. We felt we wanted to see Seoul one last time and decided to take the regular subway again.
Us, leaving with a heavy heart is an understatement. There’s still so much left unexplored. Definitely, we’ll try to go back again next year. Pinky swear!