Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Korean Palaces

Eric did have to work a few days while I was visiting. I went to visit him at the Embassy. Not the prettiest building. I wanted to run into the embassy with my passport over my head shouting that I am a US citizen and North Korean agents were chasing me - like in the movies. Eric told me I could not do that, drats. So, instead I visited some old palaces in Seoul. The first one was Deoksugung Palace. It is Historical Site No. 124. The Koreans have numbered their important historical objects, I guess a good idea, but sort of NQR. Anyway, Deoksugung was the King's brother's place, until the Japanese invaded (1592) and burned down most of the other palaces, so the King took it over. He left after seven years, but later Kings used it as a palace from time to time. King Gojong (one of the last Emperors, if not the last one) died here on January 21, 1919. Too much information? I also went to Gyeongbokgung (on a different day, don't want to palace yourself out). Gyeongbokgung makes Deoksugung look like a low rent apartment. Gyeongbokgung was the primary palace of the Joseon Dynasty, which started around the 14th century and ended right around World War I. That is some history. Gyeongbokgung is Historical Site No. 117 for those starting a list. The place is massive and they keep rebuilding sections of it. The Japanese burned down the place during one of their many invasions. Highlights include the Geunjeongjeon - the main building of the palace and
Hyangwonjeong - a little pavilion for relaxation. Notice the water is frozen!
Other items of interest...Figures on the roof. I was born in the year of the rabbit. Pretty cool shot, huh.
Other random shots of the area. Including National Treasure No. 811. Can you guess which one it is? It was the last photo - the Amisan Chimney.

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