Friday, May 8, 2009

071117 - Gyeongbokgung Palace, National Folk Museum

Bookmark and Share
Gyeongbokgung Palace is Seoul’s most prominent and grandest of all palaces. It was constructed in 1395 under the reign of King Taejo and it served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynanty. However, it was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and reconstructed back in 1868. During the Japanese colonial period, most of the palace structure was dismantled with only a few important structures left now.

The admission fee is 3000won and there is free English tour guide. I was overwhelmed with the scenery and busy with my photo snapping; so I missed some of the explanations. The tour guide said if you wear Hanbok (Korean traditional attire), the entrance fee is free. Seoul government is good at promoting their culture which Malaysia should also emulate it.

I was at the right timing, and I’m able to witness the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony.

These guards are differentiated by their attires. The guard’s splendid costumes with their bright colours are a pleasure to view. Picture with the guards are free. You do not wish they accidentally hit/stab you with their sharp weapon during the ceremony, so no pictures are allowed during this time.

The gatekeeper

There are few entrances to the palace and I took the Gwanghwamun entrance.

Gwanghwamun Gate

Nearby Gwanghwamun Gate, there is the National Palace Museum of Korea and its part of the admission fee. I did not enter as I’m following the English tour guide for explanations

This is Geunjeongjeon, the main throne hall of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Behind this hall, is the view of Mt. Bugaksan (too bad it been blocked)

There are 12 pairs of pumgyeseok, stone markers situated in front of the main throne hall; each inscribed their official’s rank

Inside the throne hall

One of the halls

In one of the hidden courtyards, I able to witness the traditional wedding ceremony

I arrived at this beautiful sight of Geongcheonggung, which served as a separate palace for King Gojong. It is considered a palace within a palace. The tour guard said, it is here where Empress Myeongsong was killed in 1895.

West of Geongcheonggung is a place for visitors to relax and behind is the view of Mt. Bugaksan

Hyangwonji pond is located at the rear garden of Gyeongbokgung palace together with the hexagon pavilion of Hyangwonjeong and Chuihyanggyo bridge.

Since the bridge was closed, I took a walk further north and arrive at Jibokjae

Moving north again, through another gate, ahead is the so-called Blue House, the official resident of President Lee Myung Bak. It’s like a White House in US.

Heading East, I entered The National Folk Museum, a good place to obtain an overview and introduction of Korean history, mainly on Joseon Dynasty.

Korean traditional attire, Hanbok

Colourful rice cake, mainly used for wedding ceremony and Chuseok festival (Korea Harvest Moon)

Kimchi making, Kimchi means preserve

Then I headed out for an open air exhibition. My first sight was a group of timber totem poles of male and female faces that served as guard posts in ancient Korean villages, Sottae and next to it is Dolharubang (volcanic stone sculptures), all of which were used as worship pieces in Korean folklore

Stone statues

There are also 12 stone horoscope statues outside the museum. The building of the museum have followed traditional Korean architecture styles, which stand on top of the museum

Last but not least, I relaxed myself with free Korean traditional performances (part of the admission fee) which held on every weekend at its auditorium. The disadvantage was that the commentor spoke only in Korean before each of the performance starts, which took about 5 minutes and it was quite bored for me.

The show finished at 4.30pm, I took a 15 minutes walk back to Insadong and went to Ssamzie Market, it’s a individual shop that sell customize souvenirs. Noticed the floor is going upward/downward in the square motion around the building.

After 30 minutes in Ssamzie Market, I went back my hotel, soaked myself in the long bath tub with warm water and prepare for tomorrow itinerary.

No comments:

Post a Comment