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Seoul Traditions

The Gyeongbokgung Palace complex covers a staggering 4.4 million square feet. There are over 330 hundred structures in the compound and to see everything properly will require at least a couple of visits. The National Folk Museum of Korea is also within the palace grounds and its displays of historical domestic and agricultural artifacts are worth a visit. 

Heungnyemun Gate is one of three entrances to Gyeongbok Palace. Gyeongbok was the main residence of the Joseon Dynasty from the 14th century until it was razed by fire in the 16th century and left abandoned for more than two and a half centuries. It was reconstructed in 1867 only to be demolished during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. A 40-year restoration project of the palace was initiated in 1989 by the government. 

Geunjeongjeon is the Imperial Throne Room and one of a handful structures that survived from the 19th century. Geunjeongjeon means “diligence helps governance”. Behind the throne is a screen painted with the sun, the moon and a five-peaked mountain all of which represent “the king’s divine position in relation to the order of the universe”. Coronation ceremonies were held in this hall as well as meetings and receptions with foreign dignitaries.

The ceiling in the throne room is elaborately painted in bright colors.

Gyotaejeon Hall is the Queen’s living quarters. The king and queen had separate quarters within the palace complex.

Roof finials or japsang in the shape of animals are not merely decorative, they also serve to ward off evil spirits.

Alley between buildings in the Gyeongbokgung Palace complex.

The hanbok is the traditional Korean costume worn for festive and celebratory occasions. It dates back to the Joseon dynasty period, 1392-1910. It consists of a jeogori (blouse) and colorful chima (skirt). Your entrance fee to the palace is waived if you wear a hanbok. Seniors 65 and above also enter the palace for free.

Changing of the guard at Deoksugung Palace is a must see for the explosion of bright colors worn by the guards, the vibrant marching in front of the palace gate, the flag waving, the cast of characters and it’s all for free.

A typical hanok dwelling with wooden floors and an open plan allowing air to circulate, keeping the house cool during warm summer months.

Hanok interior with water jar and kitchen utensils.


Read about traditional Korean cuisine here:

How to get to Gyeonbokgung:
Subway M or Subway Line 3, Gyeongbokgung exit 5 at Gyeongbokgung Station
Seoul City Tour Bus B

Subway Line 1 or 2, City Hall Station, Exit 1, 2 or 3.

*Seoul Traditions is a late post.


Images by TravelswithCharie

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