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January 27, 2012

Photo of the Week: The Menacing Stone Guards of Seolleung

The stone guards at Seolleung Tomb in Seoul.

Tucked away in the heart of bustling downtown Seoul is Seonjeongneung, a collection of three royal tombs, belonging to King Seongjong, his wife Queen Jeonghyeon, and King Jungjong, all of whom died in the 15th or 16th centuries.

In ancient Korean style, the kings were buried within burial mounds. These mounds were designed and located based on Confucian principles and Feng Shui and are almost always located within pleasant parks and forests.

At Seonjeongneung, there are two burial sites, Seolleung and Jeungneung. Atop the mounds of each site, are a variety of statues that are unique to the Korean burial mounds from this period. In addition to a collection of tigers and horse, there are imposing stone statues of soldiers, designed to guard the king.

The entire collection of Korean royal tombs, of which there are about 40, has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are scattered around the country. This is one of the most accessible collections though, sitting in the heart of southern Seoul.

You can get to the tombs by heading to Seolleung Station on Line 2 or the Bundang Line of the Seoul subway system. It is a short walk from exit 8. The tombs are surrounded by a beautifully wooded park. If you go on a nice day, it would be a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

The stone guards at Seolleung Tomb in Seoul.

The menacing stone Muinseok at Seolleung Royal Tomb.






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