Seven years after the end of the Imjin War, 7th Admiralty Commander Lee Unyong built a shrine upon the order of King Sonjo in his 39th year of rule in 1606. This shrine, which was meant to commemorate Admiral Lee's loyalty and brilliant exploits, housed the mortuary tablet of Admiral Lee.
- Appointed No. : Historical Site No. 236
- Appointed Date : Jun. 11, 1973
King Hyonjong, in his fourth year of rule, gave the shrine the name Chungnyeolsa, the calligraphy for which was written by Munjong-gong Song Jungil.
As time went on, a number of other structures were built in the same compound. For instance, in the 11th year of rule of King Hyonjong, the 51st Admiralty Commander Choe Suk established Kyongchungje that served as a private school for the local children.
Later on, in the 44th year of reign of King Sukjong, the 92nd Admiralty Commander Kim Junggi constructed Sungmudang and assigned three military officers to receive donations in the form of cash and cereals, to do office work, and to take control of the establishment. The Commander acquired fields and paddies in Yondae-do, an island awarded to him by the king, to gain funds for the preservation of the shrine. The people's respect and admiration for Admiral Lee Sun-Shin was so profound that in 1795, King Jongjo had a book about Admiral Lee published, and ordered for the circulation of a royal bulletin in the Chungnyeolsa. Moreover, when Lord Daewon issued a decree for the nationwide abolition of private schools in 1868, the 6th year of rule of King Kojong, only the private school at Chungnyeolsa was exempted and preserved.
Now, twenty-two structures can be found on the 8,172 sq m-land area of Chungnyeolsa. Aside from the shrine itself, other significant structures can be found, such as the Dongsoje, Kyongchungje, Sungmudang, Plate House, Exhibition Hall, and Kanghanru. Cultural treasures are also on display, including the palsapum (Treasure No. 440), a set of gifts sent to Admiral Lee by the Chinese Emperor of the Ming Dynasty; the Chungnyeol Tombstone, which is a Local Tangible Cultural Asset; and a host of other movable cultural assets. Camellia trees, which are considered Natural Monuments, add to the exotic charm of the place.
Various events are held in Chungnyeolsa all throughout the year. One of the most awaited-for is the celebration in August of the lunar year, held in memory of Admiral Lee, the soul of the national defense, and all the soldiers under his command.
Other festivals include Admiral Lee's Birthday on August 28, the Martyrdom Memorial Service on November 19 of the lunar year, and the Koje, a solemn event showcasing traditional sacrificial rituals that commemorate the Hansan Great Victory.
When the Admiralty was dissolved and the official assistance for the preservation of the shrine was cut, Tongyeong citizens organized the Chungnyeolsa Permanent Preservation Association in order to take charge of the administration of Chungnyeolsa. Finally, in 1951, a judicial foundation called "Tongyeong Chungnyeolsa" was established and has since then taken systematic control of the shrine.
Even under the extreme difficulty of living under the Japanese rule, our ancestors made every effort to preserve our cultural heritage. Let's pay deep respect to their deeds.