Seoul National Cemetery

Known as the nation’s sanctuary, the Seoul National Cemetery (국립서울현충원) is where martyred patriots and dedicated civil servants rest in peace. Established by President Syngman Rhee (이승만) in 1955, these hallowed grounds measure approximately 1.43 million square meters. It is a beautiful and peaceful place where people can honor fallen heroes. It is also a place where people can enjoy nature and celebrate freedom that was afforded them by the service and sacrifice of 165,000 brave souls.

Chungseong Fountain Tower (충성분수대) honors the patriots who died for freedom, peace, and prosperity of their country.

Chungseong Fountain Tower (충성분수대) honors patriots who died for freedom, peace, and prosperity of their country.

One of two tigers that guard the Memorial Gate (현충문), which symbolizes the people's wish to protect the souls of the country's patriot martyrs and war dead.

One of two tigers that guard the Memorial Gate (현충문), which symbolizes the people’s wish to protect the souls of the country’s patriot martyrs and war dead.

Memorial Tower (현충탑) honors the devotion and sacrifice of patriots and heroes buried in the cemetery.

Memorial Tower (현충탑) honors the devotion and sacrifice of patriots and heroes buried in the cemetery.

To the left of the Memorial tower is a statue of patriots fighting for their country. On the right is a statue of heroes who defended the country.

To the left of the Tower is a statue of patriots fighting for their country, and on the right is a statue of heroes who defended the country.

Yeonhyeunseungcheonsang (연현승천상), the statue of souls raised to the heaven. Enshrined below the statue are the ashes of 7,000 unknown soldiers of the Korean War. A man pays his respects to the memorial tablets, engraved on these are the names of 104,000 fallen soldiers of the Korean War whose remains were not found.

연현승천상 (Yeonhyeunseungcheonsang), the statue of souls raised to the heaven. Enshrined below the statue are the ashes of 7,000 unknown soldiers of the Korean War. A man pays his respects to the memorial tablets, engraved on these are the names of 104,000 fallen soldiers of the Korean War whose remains were not found.

Some of the 54,000 burial plots for soldiers who died on the battlefield.

Some of the 54,000 burial plots for soldiers who died on the battlefield.

A magpie seemingly paying its respects to one of the fallen heroes.

A magpie seemingly paying its respects to one of the fallen heroes.

Memorial Hall (현충관) which houses the photo and relics exhibition halls, as well as an education movie theater.

People can learn more about the fallen soldiers at the Memorial Hall (현충관) which houses the photo and relics exhibition halls, as well as an education movie theater.

Presidents, generals, and a Lady were also interred at the national sanctuary.

Tombs of President Park Chung Hee (박정희) and his First Lady, Yuk Young Soo (육영수).

Tombs of President Park Chung Hee (박정희) and his First Lady, Yuk Young Soo (육영수).

Tomb of President Kim Dae Jung (김대중)

Tomb of President Kim Dae Jung (김대중)

Some of the graves of the 355 generals who have made significant contribution to the military since the liberation.

Some of the graves of the 355 generals who have made significant contribution to the military since the liberation.

Tomb of Lady Changbin An (창빈안씨 묘역)

Tomb of Lady Changbin An (창빈안씨 묘역), a court lady who had offspring that ascended to the throne during the Joseon dynasty.

Seoul National Cemeterary has been designated as a park where visitors and bereaved families can rest and enjoy nature.

Seoul National Cemetery by Johanne Miller-24

Seoul National Cemetery by Johanne Miller-48

Seoul National Cemetery by Johanne Miller-11

Seoul National Cemetery by Johanne Miller-45

The cemetery also has a great view of Seoul and the Han River (한강). It is indeed a beautiful place to honor Korea’s heroes.

Seoul National Cemetery by Johanne Miller-34

Here’s Steve‘s video of our time there:

Seoul National Cemetery is easily accessible by Subway Line #4 or #9, exit #8 of Dongjak Station (동작역). For more information, go to their official website or call the tourism hotline (02-1330).

My maternal grandmother passed away almost a week ago (May 29, 2013 PDT). This post is dedicated to her and all those who have sacrificed much and dedicated their lives for their families.

Do you have loved ones that you visit at a cemetery?

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1 Comment

  1. The National Cemetery was founded in 1955 and covers 343 acres of land. It has become a national holy place where over 160,000 soldiers and other patriots rest in peace. In front of the main entrance stand the Hyeon Chung Tower and Gate. Under the tower, more than 102,000 memorial tablets have been enshrined those warriors who are missing in action from Korean War. From the center of Hyeon Chung Tower, you can see the tombs of the late Presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chunghee, as well as the leaders of the Shanghai provisional government and other patriotic leaders. Meritorious people, soldiers, policeman, and reservists have also been laid to rest in the Ease and West Graveyards. There are over 50,000 tombstones that are arranged according to their status. Other major facilities include Hyeon Chung Memorial Pavilion and the War Memorial Hall. The Pavilion shows films about Korea’s patriots, while the Memorial Hall displays war artifacts and photos. Visitors should dress modestly and conduct themselves properly in this hallowed area of deceased heroes.

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