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Seoul Searching | Gyeongbokgung Palace.

After enjoying the sights and sounds of Bukchon Hanok Village, Yue and I took a leisurely stroll down the streets of Samcheongdong as we made our way to nearby Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Lost in Seoul? Ask these ladies for directions.
They'd be more than glad to help you!
Quirky displays are a familiar sight at Samcheongdong.

Polar Bear and Yue Bear.
Jinsun Book Cafe.
'Nearby' is actually an understatement because it took us about fifteen minutes or so before we reached Sinmumun Gate, the north gate that's right across Cheong Wa Dae (Blue House) where the President of Korea resides. And mind you, we were walking in the dead of winter! 
Daehan Minguk! 
Sinmumun Gate used to be closed to the public for a long time because of its proximity to Cheong Wa Dae, but it was finally made accessible in 2006, at the insistence of then president Roh Moo-hyun.
The pathway leading to Sinmumun Gate.
Cheong Wa Dae.
Yue was starting to get whiny from all that walking, but I just kept on telling him, 'We're almost there, just a few more steps'. Took us probably a thousand to get there. Haha!
Sinmumun Gate, finally!
He heaved a sigh of relief after we reached the north gate, but his relief turned to worry after realizing how huge the palace grounds were.

The grandeur of Gyeongbokgung after the jump!

"Oh no, Mommy! We're gonna walk AGAIN?!" he complained.
"Yes, but this is gonna be fun! We're gonna see the stuff that we used to watch in Korean dramas," I said.
It's this huge. Like, 40 hectares huge.
Click to zoom.
Yue argued no further (it would be pointless to argue with his even stubborn mother, lol), and with that, we entered Sinmumun Gate and bought tickets at the Admission Booth.
Rates and schedules.
Note that the Palace is closed on Tuesdays.
4500 won for both of us.
Built at the beginning of the Chosun Dynasty when the Yi Dynasty moved the capital to Seoul, Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main seat of power for most Korean kings and the most popular palace in the country.
Jibokjae Hall, used mainly as an art hall during the reigh of King Gojong.
The entrance to Geonchonggung Palace, a detached residence for the king and queen.
Intricate walls and roofs.
Gyeongbokgung, which means 'Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven', is located in the heart of Seoul and has two mountains guarding it - Mount Namsan in the front and Mount Bugaksan in the rear, a location deemed very auspicious according to traditional geomancy.
Jangandang Hall.
The vicinity is pretty spacious.

Thanks to fellow tourists for this photo! :)
Construction of the main palace was completed in 1935, during the fourth year of King Taejo's reign, and has since become the primary palace of the Joseon Kingdom.
Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, which means 'The Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance'.
The bridge across the pond is called Chwihyanggyo and means 'intoxicated with fragrance'.
Yue loved this pavilion so much. :)
During the Japanese invasion in 1592, Gyeongbokgung Palace was destroyed and left for ruins for almost 273 years. Reconstruction finally began in 1867, by the order of the Prince Regent.
Taewonjeon Hall Shrine.
This shrine used to house mortuary tablets and caskets of the royal deceased.
This shrine also housed the portrait of King Taejo, founder of the Joseon Dynasty.
If you're watching Six Flying Dragons, that's Yi Seong Gye in the drama. :)
When Korea was annexed by Japan in 1910, most of the 200 building on the palace grounds were torn down by the Japanese. About a dozen structures were left intact afterwards.
Standing tall - the National Folk Museum.
In 1989, the South Korean government started a 40-year initiative to rebuild the hundreds of structures that were destroyed by the colonial government of the Empire of Japan.
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, where the king threw feasts and welcomed foreign envoys.
By the end of 2009, approximately 40 percent of the structures that were left standing before the Japanese occupation, were restored and fully reconstructed. 
Gyotaejeon Hall, the queen's living quarters.
Gangnyeongjeon Hall, the king's living quarters.
In 2010, Gwanghwamun Gate, the main gate to the palace, was restored to its original design. Currently, another 20-year restoration project is being planned by the South Korean government to restore Gyeongbokgung to its former status.
Geunjeongjeon Hall, the Throne Hall, where large state functions where held.
Literally, the seat of power.
Gwanghwamun Gate, the main gate of the palace.
If you're visiting South Korea, make sure to swing by Gyeongbokgung Palace. It's a great way to learn about Korea's traditional architecture and court customs. Free guided tours are available for foreigners, with English tours available three times daily. Tours start in front of the Admissions Booth inside the Heungnyemun Gate

Given the chance, I would love to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace again. In the spring perhaps, when the cherry trees are in full bloom? :)

1 Sejongro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Tel. No. + 82 2 3700 3900

5 replies:

Tina Corsame said...

I would love to visit again the Gyeongbokgung Palace. Went there 5 years ago when I was not into Korean historical dramas yet.. hehehe

♥ Vanessa said...

What an incredible experience! I have just been to the replica over in Disney World's Epcot International Showcase. The history is fascinating. I look forward to learning more about the newest restoration project.

Scott said...

My dad was stationed in South Korea many moons ago. He always had great stories about it and I would love to visit for myself.

Mai C. said...

So beautiful! I would love to tour that palace someday. They have maintained it so well!

Ann B said...

This looks like an amazing place to explore. The buildings have so much personality to them.

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