Korea Destinations: Uireung Royal Tomb History Center

Uireung Royal Tomb for King Gyeongjong (r. 1720–1724; the twentieth king of Joseon) and his second queen consort Queen Seonui (1705–1730) is located in Seokgwan-dong, Seongbuk-gu in Seoul.

Forty tombs of kings and queens from the Joseon Dynasty, including Uireung, were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2009 under the collective title of “The Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.”

The Royal Palaces and Tombs Center of the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) will opened the Uireung Royal Tomb History Center on June 21.

The History Center is presenting an exhibition on the history and World Heritage value of Uireung Royal Tomb. It has been designed with special features that allow visitors to actively participate and engage with interactive content.

Uireung Royal Tomb consists of the tomb of King Gyeongjong, which was constructed first in 1724, and the tomb of Queen Seonui, which was built six years later in 1730. Their tombs were built in the form of double mounds (each with a single burial) on the same hill. Among the forty Joseon royal tombs, Nyeongneung Royal Tomb for King Hyojong (r. 1649–1659) and Queen Inseon (1619–1674) in Yeoju is the only other example constructed in this form.

A considerable portion of the area was damaged when the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA) was relocated to the precincts of Uireung Royal Tomb in 1962. Its office was moved again in the 1990s and most of the damaged sections began to be restored starting in 2003. The Uireung precincts then started to take on their current appearance. The KCIA auditorium that still remains within the Uireung precincts is a historic site where the July 4 South–North Joint Statement of 1972 was issued. It was designated as national registered cultural heritage in 2004 and has been maintained as national registered cultural heritage ever since.

Stone sculptures at Uireung Royal Tomb share similarities with those from other royal tombs constructed around the same period, but they also exhibit distinctive characteristics. The History Center provides scale models of stone sculptures from royal tombs built in the first half of the eighteenth century. Visitors are encouraged to move them around, set them in their proper locations, and compare them with one another. There are also models that show the various forms of the Joseon royal tombs. Braille labels on these models are provided for the visually impaired.

The Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty is a serial property composed of forty royal tombs. To help visitors learn about them, the exhibition features kiosks that offer information on the world heritage value of these forty tombs and the history and characteristics of each one.

Visitors to the Uireung Royal Tomb History Center can encounter a character developed based on the motif of the stone tigers at Uireung Royal Tomb. It is hoped that this character will provide a means to introduce Uireung to visitors and many others in a friendly manner.

Admission is free.


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