Seung Hyo-sang, the first appointed City Architect of Seoul, considers Jongmyo Shrine as an emblem of Korean architecture for its philosophical and spiritual foundation: “It expresses the Korean view of death, that the souls of the dead do not disappear but interact continually with the land of the living. Perhaps, that's the reason why the austere 117 meter-long rectangular building has the power to plunge us living souls into a long and reverent silence. It is both an immortal work of architecture—in which form and content are fused as one—and an eternal hometown that gratifies the instinctive desire to return from whence we came. Naturally, Jongmyo also depicts the architectural aesthetic of emptiness, for its core is a spacious yard.” Jongmyo is a royal Confucian shrine dedicated to the forefathers of Joseon Dynasty. Originally constructed during the 14th century, the shrine was rebuilt and expanded in the 17th century after its destruction in the 16th century during the Japanese invasion. Reflecting the traditional feng shui principles, the site includes a depressed yard located at front of the main hall serving as a designated area where living and the dead spiritually coexist. To this day, the biggest ritual of the 18th-century Korea continues at this sacred shrine. The descendants of the House of Yi, which was the last clan to rule during the Joseon Dynasty, continue to follow the traditions of their imperial ancestors. As such, they take it as their duty to perform
T'is the season to stay indoors to keep yourself nice a dry. Yes, Seoul's monsoon season has started and that means most of us will likely be staying in during the weekends. But, it doesn't always have to be that way, as there are a few places around town that are in fact better to visit when massive dark clouds let loose.