Gyeongbokgung Palace and Royal Museum

As my trip was winding down I was so happy to get a notice of a flight delay of five hours (turned out to be closer to six–my flight, scheduled for 8:45pm, was now pushed back to 3:00am) Arrival time in Kona still the same so it meant I had more time in Korea with Kyle as opposed to Honolulu Airport. Score!

So the morning before my flight, I asked for late check out, granted by the nice people at the Hoegi Coop Residencenear Kyle’s university area. Fun place to stay, and CHEAP… and Kyle took me to Seoul’s ancient palace compound, dating to 1395. From the web site: It was in 1395, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded by King Taejo (Yi Seong-gye), when the construction of the main royal palace was completed after the capital of the newly founded dynasty moved from Gaeseong to Seoul (then known as Hanyang). The palace was named Gyeongbokgung, the “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven.” With Mount Bugaksan to its rear and Mount Namsan in the foreground, the site of Gyeongbokgung Palace was at the heart of Seoul and, indeed, deemed auspicious according to the traditional practice of geomancy.

I like that word: Geomancy! In any event, as I understand it, the palace compound was destroyed by Japanese aggressors twice over the centuries, most recently, during WW2. Through grants and fundraising it is being restored to its original splendor.

The day may look sunny but it was about 25 F air temperature, with winds sending the temp down further. FREEZING. As it were. The location of the palace is central Seoul, surrounding on three sides by mountains to protect from invaders and the city on the other side. There is a stunning national museum as well. It was one of my favorite things we did in Seoul!We arrived just as they were changing the guard! Very cool, even better than London. Warning: Lots of photos ahead!

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Requisite cheesy photos allowed standing with the guard once the Guard had changed. 🙂

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It may not seem so but it was FREEZING! One of the coldest days we had in Seoul.

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Radiant floor heating (very efficient and comfortable) is a tradition in Korea. This is a shot of the opening to the basement fire pits which they would use to heat the palace rooms. My hotel had radiant heating too. If it works, why change it!

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This little house was the concubine’s quarters. I’m guessing no one escaped from there!

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There was an endless amount of buildings!

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These are the royal kimchee pots.

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Above: This is SK’s equivalent to our White House, located across the street from the palace compound.

In the compound is also this wonderful palace museum. The car was purchased from Ford by one of the emperors and restored.

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