Jongmyo Royal Ancestor Shrine
Seoul, Korea

Jongmyo was built in 1394 by Taijo, the founder of the Joseon dynasty, as the royal ancestral shrine of the Joseon kings and queens. As the lineage accumulated over the centuries, the shrine was periodically enlarged to receive their spirit tablets. These are housed in separate cubicles within two long halls; the main hall, Jeongjeon, is shown here. Consisting of 19 bays, it is said to be the longest traditional building in Korea.

Jongmyo was destroyed in the Japanese invasions of 1592, and reconstructed in 1608. Contemporary activities at the shrine include Confucian ancestor rites that are based on traditional practice (later pages).