Gyeongbokgung Palace

It’s my summer vacation week and I don’t have any major plans, so I wanna take the opportunity to do see some of the sights that are on my hit list.  I started with Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven) for a few reasons.  It’s supposed to be the most impressive of Seoul’s palaces.  It has been on the news recently, playing host to some of President Roh’s funeral services.  It has a really cool history.  Originally built in 1395 by King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, and has been leveled several times by the Japanese.  Restoration has been ongoing since 1990.  And lastly… it’s close to Tomatillo Grill, the best Mexican food I have found in Seoul, but I’ll save that for another post.

It takes me about 45 minutes to get there on the subway.  Gyeongbokgung Station is actually pretty sweet.  You can pass through a little gate titled Pullomun that says it will keep you youthful, which I’m all about.  And there are these stone lanterns lining the walkway on your way out.  At night, without anybody around, it would almost feel like a scene out of a horror movie.

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You pop out next to the National Palace Museum of Korea, which I didn’t go in to.  And then you see Gyeongbok Palace.  It’s pretty spectacular, with Mount Bugaksan in the background.  And I arrived just before they did their changing of the guard ceremony.  This entrance here is called Heungnyemun.

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Passing through Heungnyemun, you enter a courtyard.  Ahead you can see Geunjeongmun, and on the other side is Geunjeongjeon.  Looking back towards the entrance you can see Seoul in the background.  I think the contrast between the old and traditional and the new and modern is a cool thing.

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Geunjeongjeon is the main throne hall of the palace.  It means that ‘all affairs will be properly managed if you demonstrate diligence’.  The king conducted most affairs here.  There are little gargoyle type statues everywhere.  Both inside and outside is decorated with a lot of color, it’s beautiful.

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Behind that is Sajeongjeon, ‘hall where the king should think deeply before deciding what is right or wrong’.  He would also hold morning briefings with his staff here.

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Out back are Gangnyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon, the king’s and queen’s living quarters.  Also in the back are the living quarters for the concubine, court ladies and servants.

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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion is one of my favorite places on the palace grounds.  It is where the king threw banquets and received foreign envoys.  It’s surrounded by a man made pond with fish.

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Hyangwonjeong is seen here in the middle of the other pond.

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The National Folk Museum is also located on the property.  I didn’t go inside, having read that it would take about an hour to rally through the whole thing.  But it’s a pretty amazing looking building.

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I have more sights in mind for later in the week, but starting off at Gyeongbokgung was awesome.  After I took another stroll through Insadong, browsing for gift ideas.  And I treated myself to a grande vanilla iced latte at Starbucks, which I haven’t had since being in Korea.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on July 28, 2009.

2 Responses to “Gyeongbokgung Palace”

  1. These pictures are amazing, D. I also liked the short video of the palace guards. The music sounded sort of like bagpipes to me.

  2. […] World Cheonggye Stream Sights at Night Seoul Tower Bongeunsa Gyeongbokgung Palace Back to the Fish Market Scooter Rally and Korean Movie Theaters Noryangjin Fish Market Korean […]

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