Saturday, February 20, 2016

Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace

During the Chosun Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) was the main royal palace. It was built in 1395, but burned down toward the end of the 16th century. It was rebuilt in the 19th century... and then demolished during the occupation at the beginning of the 20th century. Starting in the late 20th century, the palace grounds have been restored and reconstructed, but about half of the buildings are still left to go. The plan is to finish the restoration within 20 years.

We visited the palace on Monday morning. We arrived just in time for the morning Changing of the Guard ceremony, which was a larger version of the ceremony we watched with Anders at Deoksugung Palace (덕수궁) in 2009.










The big drum.



The ceremony took place in front of Gwanghwamun Gate (광화문), which is the main gate to the palace, on the south side.


Next, we walked through Heungnyemun Gate (흥례문).


We then visited Geunjeongjeon Hall (근정전), the throne room.







Here are some pictures of what I think is Donggung (동궁), the crown prince's compound.





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This has to be one of the nicest bathrooms I've ever visited.


This is the children's museum at the palace. We didn't have time to check it out, though.


One of the amazing things about the old palaces in Seoul is that they are right in the middle of the city, with views of the surrounding mountains.




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