Sunday, November 04, 2012

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, S.Korea

Welcome! Having returned from the DMZ I had a quick lunch and made my way to Gyeongbokgung Palace. It's hard to get an unobstructed view of the Gwanghwamun gate. It is the main and largest gate of the Palace

The Palace was first constructed in 1395 but was destroyed by fire, left in ruin for 3 centuries then reconstructed and destroyed again by the Empire of Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex has been gradually restored back to its original form

This chap is re-enacting the Royal Guards

The Palace was built by King Taejo, the first king and the founder of the Joseon Dynasty

Part of the Changing of the Guard ceremony

Once inside there are several inner gateways with large courtyards. Space was not an issue!

It reminded me a little of the Forbidden City in Beijing

Classic design

The final gateway leading to Geunjeongjeon, the Throne Hall

This is Geunjeongjeon, the Throne Hall. the king formally granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations of national importance, and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors

You can't go inside the buildings much in the Palace but you can look. This a peek inside one of them

Gangnyeongjeon, the King's Quarters, where he lived and did all those things that us ordinary folk do

It has taken years to restore the Palace and even now a little scaffolding can be seen

Simple, but lovely door

I liked the soft orange. More delicate than the bright red of many temples in China

Lots of rectangles!

The late afternoon sun always helps the photographer

Gyotaejeon, the Queen's Quarters. They didn't live together then....

Local girls who whose job it was seemed to be to pose for people like me!

A corner

Window view

I turned a corner and this lovely surprise took my breath away. It is Gyeonghoeru, the Royal Banquet Hall

Suddenly the air was full of the rhythm of drums

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, is a hall that was used to hold important and special state banquets

Like many buildings it was burned down during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592. The present building was constructed in 1867 (the 4th year of the reign of King Gojong)

The lake is artificial

The women didn't just play the drums with great skill but they danced too

To add to the enjoyment I was also treated to beautiful Korean singing by the man on the boat with the fan. It sounded like Opera. A magic moment in a magic place

Yours truly, the photographer

Pagodas and long shadows

Away from the main buildings of the Palace were some others that looked like they might have been residences of perhaps the Royal Guard or other personnel that served the Palace. This beautiful gate led to those buildings

Sunset arriving

Almost at the end of the day but there was one more beautiful surprise, Hwangwonjeong

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, is a small, two-storey hexagonal pavilion built around 1873 by the order of King Gojong

The bridge is called Chwihyanggyo. The name Hyangwonjeong loosely translates as "Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance," while Chwihyanggyo translates as "Bridge Intoxicated with Fragrance

I'm now leaving the Palace and night is falling

The gate is beautifully illuminated. It was difficult to get the whole gate into the picture because of the road and traffic immediately behind me

Fabulous roof

Next time I'll post photos I took as I walked around parts of Seoul. Thanks for coming!