32 Photos - Dec 16, 2012
Photo: First stop, Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is surrounded by five-meter-high walls extend over 2,404 meters.Photo: This is one of the four gates - Gwanghwanmun.Photo: It was a cold and heavily cloudy day in Korea. Temperature was just above 0 degree Celsius.Photo: This is the western gate - Yongseongmum - set against the modern Korean high rise buildings.Photo: Straight ahead entering from the main gate is Heungnyemum, the entrance to the core area of the palace.Photo: If Cynthia was to wear her red pointy hat, which you'll see in later days, the mountain would have been blocked!Photo: Another view of Heungnyemum against the mountain backdrop.Photo: Our tickets to enter the palace, priced at 3,000₩ each!Photo: The name of the gate is written in Chinese. That makes me wonder when did Korean language come into existence?Photo: The granite stones in the courtyard were intentionally roughly hewn to reduce glare in Geunjeongjeon, the main throne hall.Photo: Meet our model, also the designated map reader, guide reciter, among other roles.Photo: Cynthia, throne hall Geunjeongjeon, and a bunch of tourists.Photo: The two-tiered stone terrace (Woldae) is surrounded by stone railing with figures of the four guardians and twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. This is a monkey, one of the zodiac animals.Photo: The name of the throne hall Geunjeongjeon means that 'all affairs will be properly managed if Your Majesty demonstrate diligence'.Photo: Cynthia loves rabbits.Photo: A last look at the throne hall Geunjeongjeon before heading to the west exit.Photo: Of all the government offices inside the palace, Jiphyeonjeon, the Hall of Worthies, is the only one remaining. It is where Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, was invented under King Sejong. Rebuilt in 1867, its name was later changed to Sujeongjeon. It served as the cabinet office during the Reform Movement of 1894.Photo: A road besides Gyeonghoeru Pavilion.Photo: Gyeonghoeru was where the king threw formal banquets for foreign envoys. Greatly expanded from a small pavilion under King Taejong in 1412, Gyeonghoeru was burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, but rebuilt in 1867. 48 stone columns supporting the pavilion with no walls.Photo: A panoramic view of the Gyeonghoeru pond.Photo: A beautiful bird flew by as we admired Gyeonghoeru Pavilion under a cold Korean noon, moments before the snow fell.Photo: Gyeongbokgung Palace is huge. It's like a maze. Navigating it in the cold (later on in rain) can be rather confusing.Photo: I could imagine how Gyeongbokgung Palace would look in summer, when the grass is green and the trees have leaves.Photo: The three buildings from left to right are: Parujeong, Jibokjae, and Hyeopgildang. Parujeong is an octagonal pavilion with columns decorated in the Qing Chinese style. Hyeopgildang is a traditional Korean house with a heated Ondol floor. These three buildings were moved from Changdeokgung (where King Gojong resided for 9 years when Gyeongbokgung suffered heavy fire damage in 1876) to this palace.Photo: Behind the door, on the left side of Cynthia is a chimney for the floor heating system.Photo: A few snow flakes started falling from the sky. The rain followed.Photo: Unfortunately, there seems no documentation available to us on what building this is. It was near here when Cynthia retold the story of Queen Myeongseong's assassination by the Japanese on October 8, 1895 in this palace.Photo: The interior of the mysterious building shown previously.Photo: A bridge to Hyangwonjeong, a pavilion under restoration.Photo: All of a sudden, there was pouring rain. With no umbrella, we dived into the National Folk Museum of Korea for warmth and a cup of hot drink.Photo: I am much impressed by the quality of this video animation presentation of the old Korean days.Photo: A device to shape a steamed cake. This technique is still used today.