Alex Roque

Writer By Night

Wandering Wednesday – Gyeongbokgung Palace

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On the second part of my whirlwind day trip in Korea, we visited Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul.

It has had a crazy time. It was first built in 1395 during the Joseon Dynasty, and was later burned and abandoned before being rebuilt in 1867. According to wikipedia, as of 2009 only 40% if the buildings were reconstructed, but it’s great that they are trying to preserve everything and rebuild where they can.

We were still on the guided tour, so things went a bit fast so that we could, you know, get to the planned amethyst shop that is like all other guided tours I’ve ever been on to get tourists to buy stuff. Not that I didn’t buy a bracelet. Don’t judge me.

The grounds were huge, and like the Buddhist temple, in the middle of tall skyscrapers and busy streets.

Gwanghwamun gate [main and south gate]

Gwanghwamun gate [main and south gate]

We first stepped into a big courtyard type of space to watch the changing of the guard ceremony.

Heungnyemun gate [second inner gate]

Heungnyemun gate [second inner gate]

I assumed this would be similar to other changing of the guard ceremonies I had seen, but I was wrong. This ceremony takes place every hour between 10am and 3pm.

Changing of the guard ceremony

Changing of the guard ceremony begins

First there are three beats of the drum, and then a procession of different guards and flags comes through the side gate, leading to the main one we entered through.

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Then we headed through the second gate to see the throne hall. It was a bit of a madhouse, and people were super pushy to see the inside. But once I finally managed to check it out, I saw what all the excitement was for.

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The geunjeongjeon, or throne hall where the king would have granted audience

The design was very similar to the Buddhist temple.

The underside of the outside of the roof

The underside of the outside of the roof

We weren’t allowed inside the hall, but could peek through a window. It looked very spacious, and the background behind the throne is the same that is one the 10000 bill. As our tour guide put it, because money makes you king. Hurr. ;)

The throne.

The throne.

The roof was just also ornately decorated. Someone said to look for the dragon but I couldn’t find it.

The underside of the roof of the throne room

The underside of the roof of the throne room

I just through these little guys were cute. ^^

Monkey!

Monkey!

We continued on our way through the palace grounds. There were a lot of people, but I imagine that it would have been quite peaceful.

Gyeonghoeru, or pavillion

Gyeonghoeru, or pavillion

We also saw some of the living quarters of the king and queen, but I didn’t snag very good pictures of those, aside from this of the queen’s living space. So many people! D;

The Gyotaejeon [Queen's quarters]

The Gyotaejeon [Queen’s quarters]

I hope you enjoyed these pictures!

I have been recovering from this stupid cold – I still have a residual cough, and I have started biking to work which I’m sure isn’t helping with the cold air. Oy.

Also NaNoWriMo is nearly here!! Are you participating? If you are, let’s be friends! Here is the novel I’m working on this year!

http://nanowrimo.org/participants/crazyloststar

 

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