Jongmyo, Changgyeonggung Palace and Gyeongbokgung

Seoul Travel Blog

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Statue of the patriot Wolnam Lee Sang-Jae
Woke up early today, still a bit jet laged. Since there was no restaurant in my hotel I set off in the direction of my first sight. On the way I passed a lovely little café, the Café el Camino (see separate review). I had a nice breakfast before I continued to my first sight of the day.

JONGMYO
The Jongmyo has been registered as a world cultural property by UNESCO. It was here people held memorial services for the Kings and Queens of the the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). This service is called the Jongmyo memorial service and it is held in the same way today on the first Sunday of each May. The impressive buildings are set in dens woodland. Two ponds with islands houses several ducks and birds. In one of the buildings you can see an exhibition about the ceremonies that were conducted there.
Pond at Jongmyo
The main shrine, Jeongjeon, build in 1395 is a long building with a large courtyard in front of it. Inside are 49 royal spirit tables. These rooms were locked. The smaller shrine, Yeongnyeongjeon (Hall of Everlasting Peace), built in 1421, has 34 spirit tables of lesser kings. The original structures were all burned down by Japanese troops during the invasion in 1592. The present buildings were reconstructed in 1608.


CHANGGYEONGGUNG PALACE
From Jongmyo continue past the Hall of Everlasting Peace and walk over the footbridge to the Changgyeonggung Palace. The entrance ticket to Jongmyo also includes Changgyeonggung Palace. This palace was constructed by King Sejong in 1418 for his father. In 1483 it was enlarged for three dowager queens. This palace was also totally destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion in 1592.
It was rebuilt in 1616, but destroyed agian by fire in 1830. During the Japanese colonial rule, the Japanese began removing the palace structures and built a zoo, a botanical garden and a museum in the palace and renamed it Changgyeongwon, thereby downgrading its status from palace to garden. The Korean government removed the zoo in 1983 and is slowly restoring the palace to its original state. The palace is set in a beautiful garden. I would absolutely recommend a stroll through the park. Behind the ponds is the Daeonsil, a botanical glasshouse, which was built in 1909 and is still full of plants.

Both Jongmyo and Changgyeonggung Palace are open Wednesday to Monday from 09:00-16:30 and the entrance fee is W1000.

BUKCHON HANOK
After a dose of culture and history I needed something to eat and went back to the Insadong area and had a light lunch at the Indian Café.
Now, when the hunger was satisfied I was ready to continue my exploration of Seoul. From Insadong I went to Bukchon. This is one of the areas in Seoul where you can see hanok close up. I started at the Bukchon Culture Center where they had a small exhibition about hanok (traditional houses). These houses reflect the core Confucian values of frugality, simplicity, oneness with nature and separation of the sexes. The area of Gahoe-dong has numerous side streets, winding alleys and hidden lanes . As I wandered through this maze of alleys, I came across stunningly beautiful hanok, making me eager to see what I would find next. At the same time, I was frequently left wondering exactly where I was.
The library
This area offers a hint of what life was like before the 20th century.

GYEONGBOKGUNG
My final stop for the day was Gyeongbokgung and the The National Folk Museum of Korea. Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven) was built in 1395 and served as the principal palace until it was reduced to ashes during the Japanese invasion of 1592. For the next 273 years it lay in ruins until it was rebuilt in 1867. Gyeongbokgung was the symbol of of national sovereignty and was demolished during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). In 1915 90% of the palace buildings were torn down. Restoration of Gyeongbokgung to its former glory was completed in 2007. Althogether the palace consists of 330 buildings and had up to 3000 staff, including 14 eunuchs, all serving the royal family.
The library
Of all the buildings I particularly liked the Gyeonghoeru. This is a large pavilion resting on 48 stone pillars and overlooking an artificial lake with two small islands. State banquets were held inside and kings went boating on the pond. It was nice to end this busy, but interesting day at the palace ground, a quiet "island" in the busy city of Seoul. The architecture is very impressive and the restoration work fantastic.

The National Folk Museum of Korea was free. The entrance fee to Gyeongbokgung was W3000. The Palace is open Wednesday to Monday from 09:00 to 16:00. Note that the Museum close on different day to the palace. The palace offers a free guided tour at 11:00, 13:30 and 15:30.
Airportman says:
Great blog and wonderful photos! :)
Posted on: Mar 06, 2010
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Statue of the patriot Wolnam Lee S…
Statue of the patriot Wolnam Lee …
Pond at Jongmyo
Pond at Jongmyo
The library
The library
The library
The library
Mangryogi and Mangryojeo
Mangryogi and Mangryojeo
Hwangi
Hwangi
Kings Pavilion
Kings Pavilion
Inside Kings Pavilion
Inside Kings Pavilion
Gate to the Main Hall (Jeongjeon)
Gate to the Main Hall (Jeongjeon)
Jeongjeon, The Main Hall
Jeongjeon, The Main Hall
Gongsindang, Hall of Meritorious O…
Gongsindang, Hall of Meritorious …
Detail of stairs
Detail of stairs
Jeonsacheong, kitchen for offering…
Jeonsacheong, kitchen for offerin…
Jeonsacheong, kitchen for offering…
Jeonsacheong, kitchen for offerin…
Offering table
Offering table
Detail of doorframe
Detail of doorframe
Yeongnyeongjeon, Hall of Everlasti…
Yeongnyeongjeon, Hall of Everlast…
Spirit chamber and spirit tablet
Spirit chamber and spirit tablet
Spirit tablet
Spirit tablet
Main gate of Changgyeonggung (1484…
Main gate of Changgyeonggung (148…
Okcheongyo Bridge
Okcheongyo Bridge
Myeongjeongmun and the Okcheongyo …
Myeongjeongmun and the Okcheongyo…
Myeongjeongjeon, Main Hall of the …
Myeongjeongjeon, Main Hall of the…
Detail of the staircase
Detail of the staircase
Detail of the staircase
Detail of the staircase
Inside the Myeongjeongjeon
Inside the Myeongjeongjeon
The ceiling inside the Myeongjeong…
The ceiling inside the Myeongjeon…
Window
Window
Munjeongjeon, a council hall
Munjeongjeon, a council hall
Inside the Munjeongjeon
Inside the Munjeongjeon
Hallway of the Binyangmun Gate
Hallway of the Binyangmun Gate
Ceiling in the Binyangmun Gate
Ceiling in the Binyangmun Gate
Haminjeong, pavilion to receive of…
Haminjeong, pavilion to receive o…
Ceiling of the Haminjeong
Ceiling of the Haminjeong
Gyeongchunjeon, sleeping quarter f…
Gyeongchunjeon, sleeping quarter …
Detail of the roof of the Gyeongch…
Detail of the roof of the Gyeongc…
Ducks at the Chundangji Pond
Ducks at the Chundangji Pond
Ducks at the Chundangji Pond
Ducks at the Chundangji Pond
Glass house
Glass house
Glass house
Glass house
Entrance to the Glass house
Entrance to the Glass house
Inside the Galss house
Inside the Galss house
Inside the Glass house
Inside the Glass house
Traditional house in Bukchon
Traditional house in Bukchon
The National Folk Museum of Korea
The National Folk Museum of Korea
Hanbok, the traditional costume of…
Hanbok, the traditional costume o…
HAnbok
HAnbok
Hanbok
Hanbok
Hyangwonjeong
Hyangwonjeong
Hyangwonjeong
Hyangwonjeong
Hyangwonjeong, The National Folk M…
Hyangwonjeong, The National Folk …
Parujeong (pavilion), Jibokae and …
Parujeong (pavilion), Jibokae and…
Parujeong
Parujeong
Inside the Jibokae
Inside the Jibokae
Detail of the roof of Hyeopgildang
Detail of the roof of Hyeopgildang
Detail of the stairs in front of J…
Detail of the stairs in front of …
Brick wall
Brick wall
Detail of a brick wall
Detail of a brick wall
Brick wall
Brick wall
Entrance to Amisan and Gyotaejeon,…
Entrance to Amisan and Gyotaejeon…
Amisan, a terraced garden
Amisan, a terraced garden
Gyotaejeon, the Queens main reside…
Gyotaejeon, the Queens main resid…
Entrance to Gyotaejeon, the Queens…
Entrance to Gyotaejeon, the Queen…
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Entrance to Sajeongjeon
Entrance to Sajeongjeon
Sajeongjeon, the name means the h…
Sajeongjeon, the name means "the …
Geunjeongmun
Geunjeongmun
Geunjeongjeon, the main throne hal…
Geunjeongjeon, the main throne ha…
Geunjeongjeon, the name means all…
Geunjeongjeon, the name means "al…
The throne inside Geunjeongjeon
The throne inside Geunjeongjeon
The ceiling inside Geunjeongjeon
The ceiling inside Geunjeongjeon
Painting inside Geunjeongjeon
Painting inside Geunjeongjeon
View of the National Folk Museum o…
View of the National Folk Museum …
Seoul
photo by: chiyeh