Seoul’s collection of temples and shrines provide a window into Korea’s religious and traditional side. Here is a list of some of the most important monuments in the city.
Jongmyo Shrine - Dedicated to the memory of the Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1910), Jongmyo Shrine still retains its original structure and ancestral song and dance rituals that have been on-going since the 14th century. Appointed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the shrine also features the world’s longest continuous wooden structure at 109 metres and is known for its stark but regal aesthetic.
Guksadang Shrine - If you’re looking to gain some well-earned, good karma, strap on your hiking boots and make your way up Inwangsan Mountain to Guksadang Shrine. Shrouded by beautiful natural rock and shrubbery, the shrine is Seoul’s most important Shamanic shrines. It may take some effort getting to, but once you’re there, the views from atop make the journey completely worth it.
Jogye Temple - Located smack dab in the city, Jogye Temple is perfect for visitors looking for a slice of Korean traditionalism without the hassle of travelling out. The temple is the culmination point of Zen Buddhism in Korea, and the head temple of the first district of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism. Be sure to look out for the ornate 500 year-old Baeksong tree that has become an icon in itself.
Bongeunsa Temple - Located in the glamorous Gangnam district, Bongeunsa Temple provides a point of contrast to the daily opulence that takes place in its surroundings. The temple enjoys a flux of tourists coming in to peruse its traditional Buddhist sculptures and scriptures, as well as to seek some peaceful reprieve in the heart of the city.