Palaces of Seoul

July 16, 2015

PS Brick

Seoul is full of old palaces and gates, they’re nicely positioned sporadically throughout the modern city. It’s quite a surprise to come across them, all lit up, in a taxi whilst you’re travelling from one place to another.

The Changdeokgung Palace and the Changgyeongung Palace

Is beautifully painted and has loads of really cool patterns in the brick and wood work as usual.

P1300048

 It’s unusual for a Buddhist temple because it’s not symmetrical. This was great to see actually and gave it something special over the other temples that we saw in Korea.

There is also a secret garden at the back of the temple complex, so secret that it’s on the signs, however you do need a guide to enter it and it is highly recommended although we didn’t have time to go there. It’s supposed to be one of the best examples of Korean landscaped gardens.

The Gyeongbokgung Palace

It’s right next to Gwanghwamun underground station, across the square with the statue of Sejong the Great who created the Korean language in the 15th century because they were fed up with having to read the Chinese characters. Interestingly in this period, both Japan and Korea spoke their own languages but they both read in Chinese characters. The written language that he created is still used today and is regarded as one of the easiest, because it’s scientific and logical, to learn.

The gate always has processions with actors in traditional costumes,

P1290988

they also march in the courtyards inside.

P1300009

P1300011

The palace itself is huge, the main hall is stunningly intricate with patterns of vines and clouds all over the walls and ornate paintings all over the ceiling.

P1300063

P1300061

It’s decorated with beautifully painted urns,

P1300059

and the underside of the roof is painted in bright multicoloured paints like a Buddhist flag.

P1300066

There are many aspects to this temple, some of the living quarters that were used by the emperor are brilliantly preserved, it’s really good in this palace because they’ve kept some of the interiors that they think would have been there. It’s good to see how the palace might have looked whilst the emperor and his court lived in it, the smell in this place reminded us of old English country house, musky kind of carpet and cloth smell.

At the very back of this vast complex is a beautiful garden with a lake and a pagoda, there’s a folk museum too which looked interesting but we didn’t have time to go in.

P1300030

There was two girls taking a selfie in nice Korean traditional dresses.

P1300034