Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

 Mary and Steve were in Seoul with us for 10 days and we had an awesome visit. Unfortunately Josh and I were working while they were here. We had some fun adventures and also had nice times just hanging out at home together. The first weekend they were here we went to the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung is a royal palace located in northern Seoul. Translated to English, this palace means"The palace of shining happiness." 

Gyeongbokgung was originally constructed in 1394 by King Taejo the first king and the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. There are over 7,700 rooms inside this huge area! Nearly destroyed by the Japanese government in the early 20th century, the walled palace complex is slowly being restored to its original form. As of 2009, roughly 40 percent of the original number of palace buildings still stand or are reconstructed.
History here in Korea goes back so far and is very rich with culture. Visiting places like this gives us good opportunities to learn more about this country we call home. 

One of the many ponds inside the palace walls

Love this picture of us :)

The 4 of us in front of the entrance to the palace

Another shot of the 4 of us in front of the palace  

Josh and I with one of the guards. Just as we arrived the guards were performing a "changing of the guards ceremony" which was really interesting to see!

Palace entrance

Surrounded by beautiful mountains

Kimchi pots

Changing of the guards ceremony

Something that always amazes me about living in this country is the balance between the new and old- the ongoing struggle to embrace the present while maintaining a connection to culture and heritage. Many Koreans I have spoken to feel that this is a constant personal struggle as well. This palace was an excellent example of this balance as it was surrounded by mountains on one side, and high rise skyscrapers on the other. This palace, built in 1394 is pressed up against a major roadway and has a metropolitan hustle and bustle on the outside, but the inside is so calm and beautiful.  Definitely worth the trip if you are in this area!

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