An enchanting place among a metropolitan
Among the center of Gangnam, there is a good forest walk where one can find peace and a time for contemplation. This is the walkway in the forest of Royal Tomb in Joseon Wangneung, a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. This is the space where unique architectural styles of Traditional Korean culture exists among beautiful nature in harmony. One may have a peculiar experience of walking among a space where the dead and the alive coexist. This site had been registered as UNESCO World Heritage site as it is a valuable cultural heritage and holds over 40 different royal tombs preserved within the area. Among these, I would like to introduce to you the forest walkway in Seoul Seolleung and Jeongneung.
Royal Tomb in a city
A pathway leading to a sacred space
Two different spaces coexist. There are pathways called Shinro and Inro connecting from Hongsalmun Gate to Jeungjagak Pavillion. These two pathways have their own heights and width marking them two separate paths. Looking directly at the Jeongjagak Pavillion, the higher path on the left is for sacred sprits to pass by and thus called Shinro and the narrower one on the right with lower ceiling is for people and thus named Inro. Both paths are stone paths making it more cumbersome to walk along compared to asphalt and cement roads urban population are used to. But such discomfort gives people chance to walk more slowly taking each step carefully. Walking along this path one may naturally come to ponder how restless and fast they had been pacing living through their daily lives.
Joseon Wangneung Ritual Ceremony
Enchanted forest pathway
This the forest pathway leading to Wangneung. These forest pathways toward Wangneung does not strike me as an ordinary walkways in forest because of their precious cultural value. It is because those who have walked this path in the past had their hearts filled with the respect for the next king and the sacred vows for them as they take each step toward Wangneung. I recommend putting your earphone aside for a moment as you walk along this path. How would you like to embraced in your own space filled with quiet footsteps, breeze, and warmth of sun light shining down through tree canopy? You will be able to feel this enchanted space on your skin.
By the end of the forest path, you will come upon Institute of History and Culture. After walking along the forest among the royal tombs, it would be a good idea to pay a visit to this institute where you can learn the details about the Royal Tombs of Joseon and the royal genealogy. These information are very well organized for convenience.
Seolleung and Jeongneung creates a very unique scenery as they exist harmoniously among the skyscrapers of the city surrounding the place. This is another meaningful charm about this place as a path not only for stroll but also where we can find peace of mind even though this may seem like just an ordinary path. This is a good place to take a moment of rest from busy city life filled with glamorous entertainment and colorful urban cultures and stop for a little contemplation as you look back on the path you walked.
Wangneung Froest Walkway
March~October - Ticket Booth opening hours are 06:00~20:00 / Viewing hours 06:00~21:00
November~January - Ticket Booth opening hours are 06:00~16:30 / Viewing hours 06:30~17:30
February - Ticket Booth opening hours are 06:00~17:00 / Viewing hours 06:00~18:00
Address : (Postal code : 06153) 1, Seonlleungro 100gil, Gangnam gu, Seoul
Tel : (02) 568-1291
Fax : (02) 568-0773
Line 2, Bundang Line, Seolleung Station, Exit 10 (7 minutes walk)
Line 9, Bundang Line, SunJeongneung Station, Exit 3 (16 minutes walk)
Wrting, Photography/ 2019 Joonglim Nam Seoul Storytelling Team