Dongmyo Shrine Seoul

Pillars and roof at Dongmyo Shrine in Seoul

Pillars and Roof at Dongmyo Shrine

Dongmyo Shrine (also known as Seoul Donggwanwangmyo) in Seoul was built in 1601. Construction began in 1599 and took two years to complete. On January 21st, 1963 Dongmyo Shrine was designated as Treasure No. 142.  The shrine was built to honour Chinese Commander Guan Yu (162 – 219). The spirit of Guan Yu is said to have appeared and helped the Koreans defeat the Japanese. The shrine was built at the request of the Ming Dynasty for their part in aiding the Koreans during the Imjin War (Japanese invasion in 1592). In China, Guan Yu was a hero and many temples and shrines were built in his honour. Temples and Shrines dedicated to Guan Yu can also be found in Japan and Vietnam.

Many Koreans were indifferent to the shrine. At that time in Korea there was no custom to worship Guan Yu. Korea at that time was suffering after the Imjin war and built the shrine as they were unable to refuse the Chinese request for the shrine and to improve their relationship. Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty sent funds for the building of the shrine and a plaque with his writing to be hung at the entrance of the shrine.

In 2008 after fire destroyed the 1st National Treasure (Namdaemun Gate), the preservation of cultural property came under the spotlight. Many other sites, building and cultural assets could be vulnerable to the risk of fire and damage. Dongmyo shrine was closed for a period of time to undergo repair and treatment to protect and preserve the shrine.

The shrine is enclosed by a stone / mud wall and and covers an area of 9,315 m². As this shrine was built to honour a Chinese Hero the style, design and shape were built following the Chinese design style.

Around the shrine you will find Dongmyo Flea Market where you can buy anything and everything. Many vendors or people sell used items from the side of the road or shops.

How to get to Dongmyo Shrine:

Take line 1 or 6 to Dongmyo Station and leave exit 3. The shrine will be right in front of you.

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