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Jeongneung Royal tomb, Seoul (貞陵)
This is the royal tomb of Queen Sindeok (神德王后, ?-1396), from the Gang family. She was the second lawful wife of the founder King Taejo of the Joseon Dynasty. Following the custom of Goryeo, King Taejo, Yi Seonggye, had two wives: one married at the hometown (鄕妻) and the other married at the capital city (京妻). Queen Sindeok from the Gang family was the wife married in the capital city. She was installed as Hyeonbi (顯妃) when the Joseon Dynasty was founded. When Hyeonbi, whom he loved very much, died suddenly, King Taejo chose a site for her royal tomb inside the capital city. He even decided on a place for his own grave mound, the Sureung (壽陵), on the right side of the Hyeonbi’s mound, and named it the Jeongneung (the place where the current British Embassy is located). The present Junggu, Jeongdong, was originated from the first title of royal tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, the Jeongneung. The well-constructed Jeongneung came to be treated coldly when King Taejong, the 5th son of Queen Sinui (the lawful wife of King Taejo), ascended the throne. King Taejong permitted the building of a residential town up to 100 steps from the tomb area, allowing families in power build a mansion by cutting the trees in the forest of the Jeongneung. When the Gwangtonggyo Bridge (the current Gwanggyo Bridge) was washed away by a flood, he used the Byeongpungseok (屛風石, a long, wide and square-shaped stone to protect the tomb at the back like a folding screen) to restore the stone bridge, and other woods and stones to build the Taepyeonggwan (太平館, lodgings for the Chinese envoys in the Joseon Dynasty).

After the death of King Taejo, the tomb of Queen Sindeok was moved to Yangju (楊州), Saeulhallok (沙乙閑麓), the current place of the Jeongneung. The ancestral tablet of Queen Sinui was placed with that of King Taejo in the ancestral shrine of the royal family and she was treated as his only lawful wife. And Queen Sindeok was demoted to a royal concubine. As the Jeongneung was not placed in the ancestral shrine of the royal family, it was left as a nameless tomb for several hundred years rather than being treated as a tomb of a queen. It was restored in 1669 (the 10th year of King Hyeonjong) for the first time in 260 years. On the first day when she was placed in the ancestral shrine of the royal family with her eulogistic title of Queen Sindeok recovered, the rain poured down in the entire area of the Jeongneung. This rain was called the Sewonjiu (洗寃之雨, a rain to ease Queen’s ill feeling).

Tomb Of King Yeonsangun (燕山君墓)
The 10th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, Prince Yeonsan (燕山君, 1476-1506), ascended the throne, following King Seongjong in 1494. During the first four years, Prince Yeonsan carried out relatively good civil administration with the political heritage from King Seongjong’s reign. Then, he provoked a lot of major massacres such as the Muosahwa (戊午士禍) and the Gapjasahwa (甲子士禍), and executed many scholars. He squandered national finance with endless extravagance and dissipation. When he heard the circumstances of ousting his birth mother, the Lady Yun, he started to do immoral things. He killed two royal concubines of King Seongjong and their sons. He made his grandmother died, Queen Dowager Insu, by hitting his head against her. At that time, she was ill in bed and was scolding her grandson’s atrocious doings. He gave a posthumous title of the queen to his birth mother, the Lady Yun, and changed the title of her tomb from the Hoemyo to the Hoereung (懷陵). And then he performed a sacrificial rite for her with King Seongjong. He committed countless acts of maladministration: he changed the Seonggyungwan (成均館, the top educational institution of the Joseon Dynasty) to the place for sensual pleasures, the Wongaksa Temple to the gathering place for the Gisaeng (singing and dancing girls) and the Hongcheonsa Temple to a house barn. In 1506, he was dethroned with the Jungjongbanjeong (中宗反正, a revolt to enthrone King Jungjong) and was exiled to a house surrounded by a splinter wall at Gyodongdo Island, located in the northwest of the Ganghwado Island, and died there of a disease. He had five sons and one daughter with the Lady Sin (居昌郡夫人, the Lady of Prince Geochang), and two sons and one daughter with a concubine, but all of his sons died right after birth or in the place of exile. Prince Yeonsan was first buried in the Gyodongdo Island, the place of his exile. Later, his wife, the Lady Sin, wrote a letter to King Jungjong, asking to change his burial site, and his tomb was moved to the current place in 1513. When King Jungjong granted royal permission of changing the burial site, he ordered to rebury the tomb with courtesy suitable for the title of the Wangjagun (王子君, a title given to a son born of a concubine). Therefore, the tomb of King Yeonsangun has a low wall with three sides, two stone tables, two stone lamps, a pair of stone posts, two pairs of the stone images in the form of a civil official and a table to put an incense burner.
Location Map of Joseon Royal Tombs