SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- A record high of 13.38 million people visited the four major royal palaces and tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) last year, a government agency said Monday.
According to the Royal Palaces and Tombs Center under the Cultural Heritage Administration, the number of visitors to Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace, Changgyeong Palace, Deoksu Palace, Jongmyo Shrine and Joseon Dynasty royal tombs nationwide increased 17.8 percent to reach an all-time high of 13,386,705 in 2019.
Last year's visitor tally was in excess of the previous visitor record of 13,044,458 set in 2016.
The figure was 11.9 million in 2017 and 11.36 million in 2018.
Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul drew the biggest crowds -- 5.34 million visitors -- followed by Deoksu Palace with 2.41 million, Changdeok Palace with 1.78 million, Changgyeong Palace with 874,000 and Jongmyo Shrine with 466,000, the center said.
Among the royal tombs, Yeongneung and Nyeongneung Royal Tombs in Yeoju, about 60 kilometers southeast of Seoul, which house King Sejong the Great, attracted 413,000 visitors, trailed by Seolleung and Jeongneung Royal Tombs in southern Seoul with 382,000, West Five Royal Tombs in Goyang, north of Seoul, with 333,000 and Yungneung and Geolleung Royal Tombs in Hwaseong, 60 km south of Seoul, with 327,000, it noted.
The number of foreign visitors to the Joseon palaces and tombs totaled 2.57 million last year, an increase of 21.2 percent from the previous year.
Visits by Chinese-speaking tourists increased 100.4 percent, while Southeast Asian visitors increased 18.8 percent.
The total number of visitors to the royal palaces and tombs peaked at 1.69 million in October, followed by 1.52 million in May.
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