Friday, October 2, 2009

Donggureung Tombs - 동구릉 (東九陵) (Built 1408-1904)

Last week, we had an opportunity to visit Donggureung tombs. Recently, this site is designated as ‘World Heritage Site’ hence came under World’s cross hair. This graveyard has nine royal mausoleums and seventeen graves. It is located in a large forest area and it occupies a larger area compared to the other tombs in Korea. The surrounding forest enhances the beauty of the place.

Photo taken in front of the tomb

Source: Donggreung Brochure

For any big projects, location does matter. In the same way Donggureung site was selected based on (a) Distance from Hangan (Old name of seoul) (b) distance in relation to other royal tomb (c) the accessibility of the location and (d) Korean traditions of geomancy. It also considered traditional burial rituals of Korea and the natural environment.

One interesting story, the long reeds are said to have been transplanted from King Taejo's hometown of Hamgeung. Overall it carries 600 years of fascinating Joseon History within it.

Here, I am going to explain brief characteristics of all the tombs.

1. Geonwonneung

tomb of King Taejo

This is the tomb of King Taejo, the first king of the Joseon dynasty. He founded dynasty in 1392 and ruled merely for 6 years and then retired. After his death in 1408, his fifth son King Taejon built his tomb.

2. Hyeolleung

tomb of King Munjong and Queen Gwon

This is the tomb of King Munjong (5th king) and Queen Gwon. King Munjong was an extremely learned man and published many books on Korean history. He was the son of King Sejong, considered to be the greatest of all Joseon kings. Munjong died at age 39 after reigning only 3 years (1450-52). Queen Gwon died in 1441 but her remains were interred here only in 1513.

3. Mongneung

tomb of King Seonjo, Queen Bak and Queen Kim

This is the tomb of King Seonjo (1567-1608), Queen Bak, & Queen Kim. To the right of his tomb stand the twin tombs of Queen Bak and Queen Kim. The King's tomb has a 12-sided retaining wall and the Queen's tombs have a rock fence.

4. Hwireung

Tomb of Queen Jo

This tomb belongs to Queen Jo, 2nd wife of Injo, the 16th ruler of Joseon dynasty.

5. Sungneung

tomb of King Hyeonjong and Queen Kim

Sungneung is the tomb of Hyeonjong, the 18th king of Choson. Queen Kim is interred in a separate burial mound to his right. He ruled for 15 years (1659-74) and died at age 33.

6. Hyereung

tomb of Queen Sim

Here lie the remains of Queen Sim, the first queen of King Gyeongjong, the 20th ruler of the Choson dynasty (r. 1720-24). Gyeongjong was the son of the infamous concubine Jang Huibin.

7. Wolleung

tomb of King Yeongjo and Queen Kim

Wolleung is the tomb of King Yeongjo, the 21st ruler of Joseon, and his wife Queen Kim. Yeongjo died in 1778 at age 82. The son of Choe Sukbin, a concubine of king Sukjong (19th king), Yeongjo acceded to the throne upon the death of Gyeongjong, his half brother and son of Jang Huibin. King Yeongjo reigned for 52 years, longer than any other king of the Choson dynasty.

8. Sureung

tomb of prince Ikjong and Prince Jo

Prince Munjo, the son of King Sunjo (the 23rd king), did not live long enough to reign. Munjo married at age 11 and died at 21. His father loved him greatly and ordered a kingly tomb, or "neung", built for him. The prince was given the title of Ikjong posthumously. His widow Queen JO was buried here in 1890.

9. Gyeongneung

tomb of King Heonjong, Queen Kim and Queen Hong

The tomb of King Heonjong, the 24th ruler, is the sole example of a tomb with three mounds enclosed inside the same wall. Heonjong became king at age seven and married Queen Kim at age 11. Queen Kim died when the king was 16. Two years later at 18, he married Queen Hong. King Heonjong reigned for 15 years (1834-49) and died at age 22. Both queens are buried in separate mounds to the right of the King's tomb. Queen Hong was the last member of the royal family to be buried at Donggureung. She died in 1904 at age 73.

1 comment:

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