Friday, August 19, 2011

Day Four in Seoul: Amazing Food, Jongmyo Ancestral Shrine, Insa-Dong, Samncheong-Dong and Environs

Yesterday I went to my favorite tourist site so far: Jongmyo Ancestral Shrine.

As the UNESCO Website describes:
Jongmyo is the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal shrines to have been preserved. Dedicated to the forefathers of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), the shrine has existed in its present form since the 16th century and houses tablets bearing the teachings of members of the former royal family. Ritual ceremonies linking music, song and dance still take place there, perpetuating a tradition that goes back to the 14th century.
Jongmyo is UNSESCO-designated twice over, both for the site itself and for the music that is used in the fascinatingly ornate ceremony which still takes place here each June, which is a UNESCO declared "masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity." 

After Jongmyo, I explored, per my itinerary, Insa-Dong, Buckchin Hanok Village, Samncheong-Dong and the outlying environs. So many lovely neighborhoods here, all tucked away...

As always, click on images for much larger, more detailed versions:

Jongmyo Ancestral Shrine, whose current structures date back to the early 17th Century.

Lunch: A pancake made of scallions, octopus, and shrimp, chosen by
pointing to a photo on the wall. Seriously delicious.

A lovely old man who spoke excellent English and had worked as a translator
during the Korean War. We talked for quite some time and I realized to my intense shame
that I have no knowledge of the Korean War.

Fried fish for sale.

Lots of odd proprietary museums here. This one is The Owl Art & Craft Museum.
A private collection of all things owl in an overstuffed room.
Your $5 admission gets you a cup of tea or grape juice and a chat with the proprietor.

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