Korean Royal Tombs Sites

korean-royal-tombsMounds located nearby King Muyeol's tomb in Gyeongju City

Korean Royal Tombs

Korean Royal Tombs are part of South Korea's tourist attractions. The royals' lives were fascinating as much as intriguing to learn. The popular Korean soap operas include the dramas and stories based on the real characters, such as the kings and queens in the past.

In this article, you will see most of the famous royal tombs or burial sites in this country. Most of the sites have been recently improved by making them not only monuments or burial places but also as memorial parks.

Below, you will find specific tombs and burial sites, each of the links to pages that describe further details. The individual pages or articles on this website include the means and mode of transport when you decide to get there.

So, here we go...

Goguryeo Burial Sites
The Complex of Goguryeo Tombs (고구려 고분군) is also located in North Korea. There are about thirty or so tombs in the area, which is not considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

These tombs are significant because they are pretty much all that remain from the Goguryeo Era.

The monuments itself are essential, but the murals within the graves and the items buried along the tombs present a unique insight about Goguryeo's life.

Goryo Dynasty Tombs
The Royal Tombs of the Goryo Dynasty (고려왕릉) are located in North Korea. The capital city of the Koryo Dynasty was Kaesong (개성), which is located in present-day North Korea.

Not all tombs have been identified, but we know that some of the graves belong to deceased Goryo Kings and Queens. Some of the graves are in poor shape because the North Korean government has neglected them.

But the ones that are properly maintained have various stone guardians that signify they are protecting them.

korean-royal-tombsTombstones of royals located beside Seoul Arts History Museum

Joseon Dynasty Royal Tombs
The Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (조선왕릉) is located in Gyeonggi Province (경기도), Gangwon Province (강원도) and Seoul (서울).

There are about forty royal tombs for various Korean kings and queens and about thirteen tombs for crown princes and their wives and concubines.

The graves are spread out over eighteen different places, but most of the tombs are in Seoul. Today, tourists can still see Tombs. Yet, they are restricted from walking in certain areas because they are considered sacred.

With the above brief background of the tombs and burial places, let us get down to see the most famous tombs and sites...

Korean Royal Tombs...

The vast, walled park has 23 tombs of Silla monarchs and family members. From the outside, they resemble substantial grassy hillocks that echo the mountains outside town.

Noseo-dong Tombs
Near the main shopping area is the Noseo-dong district, where you'll find Silla tombs. Seobongchong and Geumgwanchong are adjacent tombs built between the 4th and 5th centuries.

Sprouting huge trees of vast girth, this is the most massive extant Silla tomb – 22m high, with a 250m circumference. It's quite a picture at any time, but particularly at sunset.

korean-royal-tombsCheonmachong Tomb's royal coffin with items in Gyeongju City

The largest and most attractive of the World Heritage-listed royal tombs scattered around Seoul and Gyeonggi-do, Donggureung, is the burial place of seven kings and ten queens from the Joseon dynasty.

Underwater Tomb of King Munmu
This small rocky island offshore is the legendary tomb of King Munmu (661-681). This Silla king and unifier of the three kingdoms demanded he should be laid to rest in the East Sea so he could become a dragon and protect his people.

Daegu City
Bullo-dong Tumuli-gongwon
In the north end of the city, Bullo-dong Tumuli-gongwon is an enormous open space covering some 330,000 sq meters. The grassy hillocks that rise like bumps across the valley are tumuli (burial mounds).

Gyeongju City
At Noseo-dong Tombs, the tomb of Seobongchong was erected between the 4th and 5th centuries. Excavation of the mound yielded a gold crown of Silla origin that now resides at the Gyeongju National Museum.

cheonmachong-tombThis tomb is called 'cheonmachong', meaning 'heavenly horse' which indicates the flag painted with a heavenly-looking horse found inside this ancient tomb.

Gyeongju City
This is the only tomb at Tumuli-gongwon that is open to visitors. I had an exciting time visiting this one in the evening, which added a more eerie atmosphere.

Gyeongju City
At Noseo-dong Tombs, Geumgwanchong was built between the 4th and 5th centuries.

Gangnam & Southern Seoul
Seonjeongneung Park contains two main burial areas for kings and queens from the Joseon dynasty. The first tomb is for King Seongjong (r 1469–94), who was a prolific author and father.

Gangnam & Southern Seoul
King Seongjong's Tomb
The most notable of the three royal tombs at Seonjeongneung park is that of King Seongjong (r 1469–94), who was a prolific author and father – he had 28 children by 12 wives and concubines.

Gyeongju City
The reason to come to this pine grove is to start a hike up Nam-san. On your way up, you may pass the tumuli of three Silla kings. Another tomb, located away from the others, is said to contain King Gyeongae's body.

Gangnam & Southern Seoul
King Jeongjong's Tomb
The tomb of King Jeongjong (r 1506–44) is one of three royal burial areas at Seonjeongneung park. He was the second son of King Seongjong and Queen Jeonghyeon. At this tomb, you can see the full layout

Dongdaemun & Eastern Seoul
Yeonghwiwon and Sunginwon
Set in a tranquil, well-tended plot, this pair of royal burial mounds dates to the very end of the Joseon dynasty. Yeonghwiwon, the larger of the two, is the tomb of a royal concubine who died in 1911.

Gyeongju City
Tomb of General Kim Yusin
A royal tomb with 12 statues carved with the likeness of the signs of the Chinese zodiac watching over the resting place.

Gangnam & Southern Seoul
Queen Jeonghyeon Wanghu's Tomb
One of three royal tombs at Seonjeongneung park. Queen Jeonghyeon Wanghu was the second wife of King Seongjong.

Gyeongju City
Geumnyeongchong - Across the road from Noseo-dong tombs is this tomb, adjoining Bonghwadae.

Gyeongju City
Gwaeneung Tomb - The tomb of King Wonseong.

This page will be updated with more exciting and accessible tombs and burial sites of the past Korean royal family members.

So, stay tuned to see them here. I hope you have an unforgettable journey. Keep safe, and have fun!

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