Jongmyo Shrine was primarily built to honor the deceased kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty. Often referred to as the Parthenon of the East, Jongmyo is a registered UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site noted for its well-preserved ancient customs such as memorial services and traditional music.
Jongmyodaeje is a royal ancestral ritual performed to honor the past kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty and to wish for the peace and prosperity of the country and its people. Designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, the ritual is characterized by a solemn and majestic assortment of music performances, an ensemble of ancestral ritual music refined from various ancient and traditional music works.
This ritual was considered to be the most important state event during the Joseon Dynasty and its annual reenactment is held to continue the tradition. Today, the grandeur of this special ceremony has attracted the attention of locals and tourists alike. The ritual is held according to Confucian tenets, largely consisting of greeting, serving, and bidding farewell to the spirits.
In order to share its value with a wider audience, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) has reserved 200 seats for foreign tourists to watch the event for free. Those interested should apply by email to secure a seat. English and Japanese language services will also be provided.
To further promote Korea's tourism assets, international visitors selected to participate in the Jongmyodaeje will also be given a Korea World Cultural Heritage Site Pilgrimage Campaign passport. Visit at least three of the fifteen World Cultural Heritage sites to get your passport stamped. Present your stamped passport at the campaign desk to receive a certificate of completion and a Korea World Cultural Heritage Site commemorative souvenir.