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Explore autumn’s splendour through tombs and royal palaces

SEOUL (ANN/THE KOREA HERALD) – This autumn season offers a rare opportunity to discover hidden gems within royal palaces and tombs in South Korea.

Normally inaccessible trails and tombs are now open to the public for a limited time, coinciding with the breathtaking change in foliage hues. The peak season for vibrant autumn leaves is anticipated to last until early November this year, adding to the allure of the experience.

Eight forest trails within the Joseon royal tombs, some of which are typically off-limits, have welcomed visitors since September 28. This exclusive access will continue until November 30, as announced by the Cultural Heritage Administration’s Royal Palaces and Tombs Centre.

 

The royal tombs where forest trails are open for the season include Donggureung in Guri, Gyeonggi Province; Gwangneung and Sareung in Namyangju, Gyeonggi Province; Taereung and Gangneung in northern Seoul; Samneung and Jangneung in Paju, Gyeonggi Province; Yungneung and Geolleung in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province and Yeongneung in Yeoju.

Aerial view of Changdeokgung garden in the fall season. PHOTO: ANN/THE KOREA HERALD

The total length of all eight forest trails measures 16.82 kilometres and the trails are open to the public from 9am to 4pm

At Donggureung, a nature learning centre gives families and children an opportunity to observe the flowers and the wetland plants of the region.

In northern Seoul, a 1.8-kilometre path starts from Gangneu, the royal tombs of Joseon King Myeongjong and Queen Consort Insun, and leads to Taereung.

Another event is the silver grass viewing of Donggureung in Guri, Gyeonggi Province, during which a royal tombs expert will share some of the less well-known stories of King Taejo (1335-1408), the founder of Joseon, and other Joseon kings.

Trail of Samneung in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province. PHOTO: ANN/THE KOREA HERALD

Visitors can view the Geonwonneung, a silver grass-covered mound of Taejo, which is accessible to the public for a limited period in autumn when the grass is at its most splendid.

This is the only royal tomb of Joseon that is covered with silver grass. Historical records state that the mound was covered with silver grass in accordance with Taejo’s will. The king ordered silver grass to be brought from Hamheung, in today’s North Korea, his hometown, to cover his mound.

Additionally, the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation is preparing to live stream walks along royal tombs’ forest trails for those who cannot visit in person.

Through online public voting, the foundation has selected Taereung and Gangneung in Seoul, Gwangneung in Namyangju and Seooreung in Goyang, both in Gyeonggi Province, for live-streaming.

The livestreamings are scheduled from 10am to 11am on Thursday, Friday and Monday, The livestreaming can be viewed on the foundation’s YouTube channel, Korean Heritage.

 

Walking trail in Taereung, Nowon-gu, northern Seoul. PHOTO: ANN/THE KOREA HERALD
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