Changgyeonggung – One of the Five Grand Palaces – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 6)

IMG_7359–Angbuilgu SundialIMG_7360

The last palace that we visited was Changyeonggung, though we still have ticket for our fifth palace, I knew for myself, that we will not able to visit it because the next day was our last day and we were booked for another tour. Anyway, though there were still few raindrops when we were at Changdeokgung, we were unstoppable to continue our walk. We entered in the gate of the palace from Changdeokgung which is called Hamyangmun.

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–Hamyangmun (near the stair)

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–bridge

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–Tongmyeongjeon

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–Yanghwadang

Since our tour did not start at the main gate of the palace, we saw the buildings in not particularly order. We started to walk in the area of Tongmyeongjeon and Yanghwadang. Based from handbook guide, Tongmyeongjeon was the queen’s bed chamber. Beside the building, there is a pond, with a bridge in the middle of it. While reading the information, I felt ecstatic because it was mentioned in the footnote in the guide that it was near the area of Tongmyeongjeon where Jang Ok-jeong (maid-in waiting become queen, deposed as consort and killed herself by poison, queen of King Sukjong in Dongyi historical drama) buried a puppet of the Queen together with dead animals which was the curse she laid for Queen Inhyeon (the current queen of King Sukjong in Dongyi). That piece of information is interesting. While the other building beside Tongmyeongjeon which is Yanghwadang where King Injo stayed.

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–Gyeongchunjeon

Another area nearby Tomyeongjeon is called Gyeongchunjeon and Hwangyeongjeon. Gyeongchunjeon was sleeping quarters of King Seongjong (son of Queen Insu who become a regent for some years when his son was still young).  It was the place of queens and princesses because future kings such as King Jeongjo and King Heonjong, King Jeongjo himself wrote a plaque which means “Birth Hall” and hung above the entrance. Hwangyeongjeon was the residence of kings and princes.

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–Hwangyeongjeon

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–Haminjeong

We moved to another area and look again what’s the building mean and the guide-book mentioned that it is called as Haminjeong which used by king to receive officials and hold banquets. Then we found as well the Sungmundang, its name written by King Yeongjo (son of King Sukjong and Dongyi in the drama) still hang. Here the king threw banquets for state affair discussions and classical literature.

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–Sungmundang

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–Binyangmun (near Sungmundang)

Next building we checked is called Munjeongjeon which is a council hall where king usually dealt with routine state affairs. One interesting information found in the footnote of the guide, that the courtyard in front of this building, the most tragic incident of the century happened. Prince Sado (father of King Jeongjo) was reported to be mentally ill and King Yeongjo were so furious that he ordered to put the prince in rice chest and sealed alive (where the prince died after 8 days).

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–Between Munjeongjeon and Muyeongeonjeon

Then we move to another area called Myeongjeongjeon and vicinity. Here we found the main hall of the palace which is Myeongjeongjeon. Here most of the state affairs such as royal coronations, royal weddings, royal banquets were held.

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–Myeongjeongjeon (back)

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–Myeongjeongjeon

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–Inside Myeongjeongjeon

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–Myeongjeongjeon Vicinity

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–Myeongjeonmun

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–Okcheongyo(bridge) and Myeongjeonmun(gate)

Next area we passed by is Honghwamun and vicinity. Here we found the gate to Myeongjeonmun to Myeongjeongjeon. Then the famous Honghwamun, this gate where King Yeongjo went out to gather the opinions of peasants and scholars alike for Equalized Tax Law where most of his ministers opposed. Another interesting fact that I learned from the handbook guide was the footnote telling us that it was the same gate where people crowded to rally for the crown prince, he is Prince Sohyeon (oldest son of King Injo who become hostage for years during Qing dynasty but died through poison few days after returning in from Qing). I remember he is the same prince that I am currently watching historical drama right now entitled The Three Musketeers. Let’s wait and see what I am going to learn in that historical drama once it’s finished airing.

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–Honghwamun

After coming from Honghwamun, we went out at the right side door and moved to Yeongchuncheon and Jipbokheon area. I learned that the area was residences of concubines. Jipbojheon building was where Crown Prince Sado and King Sunjo were born. Yeongchuncheon was unknown building before but become King Jeongjo’s study room and sometimes for  handling routine state affairs.

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–Yeongchuncheon

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–Chundangji

We passed the Inner Palace site where court ladies live here. Some of the royal princesses also lived here. But currently we saw the place as wooded area full of trees and gardens. Probably the site was not yet restored. We continue our walk until we found a beautiful and large pond, and based from map, the pond named Chundangji. The large pond was not the original pond, it was the site where the king did engaged in farming while the queen engaged in raising silkworm. The original pond is the small pond which is not visible in the photo that I tool while I was at the front of the pond.

Because its getting dark and we are aware that the palace is open until 6PM, we hurriedly went back in Honghwamun area so we can exit easily. In this walking tour we missed three areas namely: Gwandeokjeon and Jipchunmun, Eastern Palace Site and Gwolnaegaksa. Those three are more on sites as of that time, probably South Korea has still plan to restore the site in due time. I enjoyed another walking tour in the palace. While inside the palace and seeing historical buildings makes me feel that I was returning in the past time of Joseon. I enjoyed the tour because I am somewhat familiar with their history, maybe to other people, these are just mere buildings but for me, they are truly treasures that South Korean must keep it for more many years to come so next generation will appreciate their history again.

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Changdeokgung “Ideal Place of Capital City – King Sejong” – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 5)

It was Friday and we were set to visit two palaces in Seoul. The two palaces are: Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung. The original plan was to visit first the Jongmyo Shrine, but unfortunately, we missed the English tour at the time we arrived at the gate and it is not allowed to go around the area on our own, tour guide is a must while inside the shrine. Because we wanted to maximize the time and not just waiting outside, we decided to go back after the two palaces.

From Jongmyo Shrine, we walked at the road at the right side of the shrine named as Seosulla-gil and then we turned left after we saw the rooftop of Changdeokgung Palace gate called Donhwamun. Same what we did in Gyeongbokgung Palace, before we entered, we bought the map guide. We have the tickets already for the said palace as we bought combine tickets (integrated tickets) when we were in Gyeongbokggung.

IMG_7027 IMG_7028–Donhwamun

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–Open space after Donhwamun

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–Geumcheongyo and Jinseonmun

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We entered the Palace via Donhwamun, as per the handbook guide, this gate is a two-story, pavillion-type wooden structure and the largest of all palace gates. After passing the said gate, what we saw was a huge space. And then we turned right where we saw the small bridge called Geumcheongyo. This bridge is known as the oldest stone bridge remaining in Seoul. After passing the bridge, the way leads to another gate called Jinseonmun.  Based from handy guide, on this gate has once installed a drum called  Sinmungo where anyone can strike the drum to file a petition to address grievances but striking the drum requires approval to a lot of government official and this system did not serve its purpose and been useless to many. It’s sole purpose is by the name only.

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–Sukjangmun (Front) and Injeongmun (Left)

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–Injeongmun

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–Injeongjeon

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–Inside Injeongjeon

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–Injeongjeon

After passing Jinseonmun gate, another open space welcome us. From where we stand and looking at the map, another gate in front of us called Sukjangmun and the gate in our left side is called Injeongmun. As we reached Injeongmun, we saw Injeongjeon area. Injeongjeon is the throne hall of Changdeokgung Palace. Based from the guide, major state affairs took place here such as coronation of new king and reception of foreign envoys. Next area we visited is Seonjeongjeon, this building where king worked at his convenience to discuss routine state affairs with high-ranking officials. And this is the only building in the palace with blue-tiled roof.

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–Seonjeongjeon and Huijeongdang

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–Seonjeongjeon

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–Huijeongdang

Beside Seonjeongjeon is Huijeongdang. Huijeongdang is the king’s bed chamber. This bed chamber became king’s workplace and become the actual main hall of the palace instead of Injeongjeon.

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–Entrance to Secret Garden

As we are awaiting for the English Tour schedule to Secret Garden, we went out the area of Huijeongdang and we waited at the entrance of the garden. Time had come and the tourist guide arrived. The guide made introductions and reminders while touring the secret garden.

Secret Garden or rear garden (Huwon) was a forbidden place for the purpose of the sole use of royal family. Since the palace was built at the base of the mountain, in the rear end of the palace, the garden was placed. And after seeing the garden at the tour, I can say that the design of the secret garden is still in harmony of the nature. This kind of place, I can think that any king can reclaim peace of mind because it is surrounded of nature. Our guide led the group at first stop which is Buyongji and Juhanmu.

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–Buyongji (Pond), Eosumun (Gate) and Juhamnu (Main hall at the top), Seohyanggak (library) left hall in the top

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–Buyongjeong IMG_7129 IMG_7152

–Buyongjeong (left) and Sajeonggibigak (right)

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–Sajeonggibigak

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–Seohyanggak (only roof) as I can’t go beyond where I was standing IMG_7132

–Seohyanggak (left most hall) , Eosumun (gate) and, Juhamnu (right most hall)

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–Eosumun

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–Seohyanggak(left),  Eosumun (gate), and Juhamnu (top)

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–Juhamnu (second level), Gyujanggak (first level) and Eosumun (gate)IMG_7160 IMG_7161

–Juhamnu (second level), Gyujanggak (first level)

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–Yeonghwadang

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–Stairs to Cheonseokjeong (not visible – not sure of the building still stand at the top)

I like the setting of the area. There is rectangular pond called Buyongji and most of the building built here surrounds the pond. The main building we saw is called Juhanmu Pavilion. Two libraries are nearby as well called as Gyujanggak and Seohyanggak, another pavilions exist are Yeonghwadang and Buyeongjeon. The said area is in the heart of the Secret Garden.

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–Buyongji (Pond) and SajeonggibigakIMG_7149

–Buyongji (Pond), Eosumun (Gate) and Juhamnu (Main hall at the top), Seohyanggak (library) left hall in the top

Our next stop was Aeryeonji and Uiduhap. Here we found another pond, this time, the pond shape is square. It was mentioned that it has islet in the pond with pavilion but now it was disappeared but the pavilion still there. The pond named by King Sukjong (I know he is the King in love with Dongyi)  “Aeryeon” that is why the pond is called Aeryeonji. The grandson of King Jeongjo which is Crown Prince Hyonmyeong built Uiduhap Pavilion near the pond. I remember that the guide told us something about one passage way in the area, it was called Bullomun (or Bulromun) gate wishes whoever passes it will have long and healthy life which originally meant for king.

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–Uiduhap vicinity

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–Aeryeonji (pond) and Aeryeonjeong (pavillion)

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–Uiduhap

Then, moved to Jondeokjeong area, here the landscape seems to be more natural, because the ponds looks great together with different pavilions surrounding it. There is pavilion which stands on the brim of the pond which is called Gwallamjeong, there is one near on the hill – Pyomusa, Sungjaejeong which stands on the highest ground in the area and the oldest pavilion which is Jondeokjeong.

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–Sungjaejeong

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–Pyomusa

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–Gwallamjeong (Gwanramjeong)

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–Jondeokjeong

We continued our walk in the next area called Ongnyucheon. Ongnyucheon is a brook flowing through the deep valley north  to the Secret Garden of the palace. And he we found a large flat rock called Soyoam Rock. As per our guide, the story of the rock is related to poetry composition, where cup of wines are afloat while making poems, I checked the handbook guide and I learned that it was from Chinese when having parties, they composed poem by a floating wine cups in the waters and if they are not able to create poems, they drink 3 cups of wine as punishment (for me it’s not really punishment, they are still having a good time). There are five pavilions surrounded the brook, namely : Soyojeong, Taegeukjeong, Cheongguijeong, Nongsanjeong and Chwihanjeong. In that five pavilion, the one caught my attention is Cheongguijeong, because it has unique roof which is thatch-roof.

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–Soyoam Rock

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–Soyojeong

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–Taegeukjeong

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–Cheongguijeong

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–Nongsanjeong

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–Chwihanjeong

We moved to the last stop which is YeonGyeongDang. When we went inside the area, there is part where it seems one of the building is being used for shows during night-time.  Then, the guide walk us around the area. Based from handbook guide, the area become an audience hall, the guide shows us separated quarters of  for men and women. It was mentioned that during King Gojong, the area become a venue to received foreign envoys.

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–YeonGyeongDang Vicinity

The tour ended well and for me I had a great time. I enjoyed the tour in the garden because it is like a nature trek which I really enjoyed doing. Historical sites in a natural settings is amazing for me. Before we ended the tour, while we were on our way to exit the Secret Garden we found a tree called Chinese Juniper. The tree believed to be 750 years old and aromatic which provide incense for ancestral rituals at Seonwonjeon Shrine.

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We parted ways with our tour guide in the Secret Garden. Then we continued our walk in other parts of the palace. We moved to Gwolnaegaksa area. Based from handy guide, the area are mostly used as government offices.

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–Gyujanggak

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–Geomseocheong

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–Gwolnaegaksa and vicinity area

Next was Old Seonwonjeon Site, it was called Old because there is a New Seonwonjeon Site, but we were not able to visit the area, it seems the area are still restricted from the public.  Old Seonwonjeon was the place for royal ancestral rites performance. Former king’s portraits were enshrined here.

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–Jinseolcheong

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–Seonwonjeon

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–Seonwonjeon and Naechaldang

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–Seonwonjeon and Vicinity

Then we moved to Daejojoen Area. As per guide book, the area are the scene of tragic history. Here was the place where the last meeting of the cabinet was held to discuss the Japan’s annexation of Joseon and the bed chambers of the last king and queen are still remaining in the area.

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–Daejojoen Vicinity

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–Inside Daejojoen

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–Daejojoen

And the last area we visited inside Chandeokgung palace was Seongjeonggak. The area was the crown prince residence and has been home of many buildings. Seongjeonggak was also used as royal hospital during Japanese occupation.

During the time of our walking tour between Daejojeon and Seongjeonggak area, it rained so heavy and we waited for sometime until rain was over. While waiting at the stair in the doorway of entrance to Huijeongdang, we met a Filipino which touring around the palace as well. And we talked to him for a while, until we discussed the next palace which is ChangGyeongGung which can be found beside Changdoekgung. He mentioned that the palace is small and can be finished in 1 hour. Because of that conversation, we hurriedly decided to visit ChangGyeongGung as well. We have at least 1.5 hours left before closing time.

Hwaseong Haenggung – Temporary Palace of King Jeongjo – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 3)

For this day, we planned to go to another historical site of South Korea which is outside Seoul, that is Suwon Hwaseong Fortress which is part of Gyeonggi-do province. As I preferred our way to go to this place without getting tour, we ended the tour with pride because we accomplished something in this fortress and here’s what happened to us.

From hotel, we took metro train which was our usual mode of transportation while touring around Seoul. And that time, we did the same thing when went to Suwon. We started at Non-hyeon station which is Line 7 going to Bupyeong. We transferred in Line 1 at Gasan Digital Complex (GDC) and then we got off at Suwon station where AK Plaza is also located. At the front of the plaza I tried to inquire how to go to Hwaseong Fortress and they mentioned to us to take a bus. The people at information center gave us the bus number. When we were out of the Suwon station, it seems the front of the AK Plaza are like crossing roads which means it’s a busy road since it’s near in the mall and you can find as well some public transport terminal around the area and we are confused where to find the bus that will bring us to the fortress. After inquiring with one of the passing students, she helped us and we crossed the road Maesan-ro. We found our bus and we were able to use our T-money card. It took us few more minutes until we were dropped off at the front of Hwaseong Haenggung Square. Here we found Hwaseong Haenggung information center at the front of the main gate. We bought tickets that combined overall access to the Hwaseong fortress. Our adventure started at lunch time and it’s a beautiful sunny afternoon. Using our mapping tour we started our walk from the gate of Haenggung.

haenggungSinpungnu (outside view)

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Sinpungnu (from inside Jwaikmun)

Haenggung sometimes called as temporary palace or detached palace, because this palace serves as palace of the King when the King was not at the capital during Joseon dynasty. The famous king who requested this fortress to build was King Jeongjo (or widely know as Yi San in historical drama). Once we entered in Haenggung, the first thing we noticed were two famous characters played in Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace) drama standing in the corner which located at Jwaikmun (the area after you entered the main gate or entrance called Sinpungnu). They are Lee Young Ae (Seo Jang-Geum) and Ji Jin Hee (Min Jung Ho) in their character outfit. Since they are famous, people visiting the place will stand either between them or at the side to have souvenir shots even though it’s just photos of them and not real. We took photos of ourselves as well when it’s been our turn.

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Lee Young Ae (Seo Jang-Geum) and Ji Jin Hee (Min Jung Ho)
Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace) historical drama

Then, we turned right and found Jipsacheong, based on the map that we have in our hand, Jipsacheong was an administrative office for jipsa, specialist for royal rites and reception at temporary palace. Here we saw dolls displayed covered with glass. Those dolls portray different kinds of clothes wore by Royal family (like King and Queen) and other Joseon court officials.

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IMG_6525 IMG_6526Jipsacheong

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IMG_2737Dolls displaying Royal Dress and Court Official Dress (Joseon Dynasty)

There was a tree standing near the entrance to Jipsacheong and we found some information displayed there about the said tree. And it’s amazing information we found, the tree is called as “The Zelkova Tree” is more than 600 years old and been there even before building the Hwaseong Fortress.

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IMG_6535The Zelkova Tree

Next, we went to Jungyangmun area which is the next area after Jwaikmun. Here we saw Royal Guard standing in the middle at the front in the entrance to Bongsudang. We walked until we reached Bongsudang. From the map guide that we have, Bongsudang is the main hall you can find in Hwaseong Haenggung. And here, the 61st birthday of the mother of King Jeongjo was held. Based from the information displayed near the building, Bongsudang was the most important building of the temporary palace and it was where King Jeongjo stayed when he visited Suwon.

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IMG_6549Gyeongnyonggwan

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IMG_6551Bongsudang Vicinity

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IMG_6562Some displays that can be found inside Bongsudang

IMG_6553Feast Model at Bongsudang (during 60th birthday of Lady Hyegyeonggung – mother of King Jeongjo)

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After looking around the area of Bongsudang, we turned right and went out at the right side, where we found Naknamheon. It is said that this building was the only building in temporary palace which was not destroyed and remain intact on its original form. This building was specially designed facility for various events such as  state examinations and banquets for old people during Lady Hong of Hyegyeonggung’s (mother of King Jeongjo) 61st Birthday Ceremony. Beside the building of Naknamheon, is Noraedang and I learned that this building were created as King Jeongjo wanted to live here in his old days after abdicating from the throne. Next building in Noraedang is called Deukjungjoeng.  At the front of the said building, King Jeongjo practiced archery, it was named after the king hits the bull’s-eye.

IMG_6575Naknamheon (side view)

IMG_6579Naknamheon (rear view)

IMG_6580Noraedang (rear view)

IMG_6582Naknamheon and Noraedang

IMG_6585Deukjungjeong

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IMG_6607Naknamheon, Noraedang, and Deukjungjeong

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Naknamheon

Afterwards, we found a way to the hill-side (which is part of Mount Paldal) just behind Hwaseong Haenggung. Out of curiosity, we followed the track to the top to check if we can see something there. On the way to the top, we saw Naeposa – a facility acted as beacon informing impending danger for residents in the fortress and Mirohanjeong – a place to live retired life quietly.

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IMG_6598Hwaseong Haenggung view from the hill-side of Mount Paldal

From the top, we went down and found another site near Haenggung. Based from our map guide, the area is called Hwaryeongjeon and this is where King Jeonjo portrait is enshrined by King Sunjo (son of King Jeonjo). In the vicinity we found different building where more information can be found. Jejeong is one of the royal well. Woonhangak used for morning assembly and enshrined of King Jeongjo. Iancheong where portrait of King Jeongjo was keep every time it was removed in the main building. Pungwadang Guest Residence used as a living quarters for a specialist for the rite.

IMG_6606Hwaryeongjeon (side view)

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IMG_6618Woonhangak

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Woonhangak

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Woonhangak

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Iancheong (with corridor connected to Woonhangak)

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Iancheong (front view)

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Woonhangak and Iancheong

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King Jeongjo in military uniform

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IMG_6633A palanquin used to carry the portrait of King Jeongjo
(Shin-yeon – palanquin, Shin-baek – wooden sign representing a deceased king or queen)

IMG_6634Other side interior of Woonhangak

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Hwaryeongjeon (from outside Naesamun view)

Then, we went back to Hwaseong Haenggung and continued our tour to the other parts of the temporary palace. We found Jangrakdang which beside Bongsudang. Hyegyeongjeong Hong stayed in the building. Here King Jeongjo celebrated the 60th birthday of her mother with the will to live with his mother after abdicating the crown to his son King Sunjo.

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Jangrakdang

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IMG_6659Some displays inside Jangrakdang and it’s interior

We went around behind Jangrakdang and Bongsudang. Here we found different servant’s quarters. Then, found Boknaedang where local officials’ family stayed. Bongnaedang Kitchen, where kitchen equipment in that period are displayed. Then, we moved along and found the display of different Korean dress used by Jang-geum in the historical drama (Jewel in the Palace). Then we found Angbuilgu which is a sundial and it was created in 1434.

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IMG_6667Haenggak (Palace Servant’s Quarter)

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Eunuch getting Ready for an outing

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IMG_6684Boknaedang

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IMG_6689Boknaedang Kitchen

IMG_6694Korean dress used by Jang-geum in the historical drama (Jewel in the Palace)

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Then, we moved to another area and we saw Yuyeotak. Here, King Jeongjo stayed here to interview his subjects during his honor visits. In the same area, I found interesting and familiar thing, it is the Rice Chest. It was familiar to me because I once saw it in the film of Yisan and Eight Days where the father of King Jeongjo, Crown Prince Sado were put to death by his grand father King Yeongjo.

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Yuyeotak

IMG_6707Rice Chest

We continued our walking tour to the next area and discovered Oejeongriso. This is where events in Hwaseong Haenggung were arranged during the King’s honored visit. Another vicinity area beside Oejeongriso is Bijangcheong which used by officials’ assistants. Next is Seoricheong which served as office of seori, clerks and petty officials who record, issue and received documents. Namgunyeong which is a government office and the 100 cavalry soldiers of the Royal Guard stood on guard.

photo (1)Oejeongriso

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IMG_6716Teukgyeong

IMG_6718Pyeonjong

IMG_6720Teukjong

IMG_6721Jingo

IMG_6723Musical Instruments

IMG_6726Bijangcheong

IMG_6727Seoricheong

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While touring inside Haenggung, in every part of the temporary palace, there are visitors like us that they go to each area with paper and they put stamp on it. I just realized that we never did the same thing. Since we were waiting for the Martial arts performance show at the entrance gate, I request the paper for Tour stamp from the information center and I go around again quickly in Haenggung to look for all the station where the stamp is located and immediately put the stamp in the paper. Then I went to Experience Tour ticket to laminate the paper as my souvenir in the palace. Well, when I did that, I felt like I am a kid receiving a reward because I finished the tour inside Hwaseong Haenggung.

Most of the tourist went outside Haenggung and stayed near Sinpungnu (entrance gate) because all of us were waiting for the 24 Martial Arts Performance which scheduled to play twice a day. The martial arts to be displayed were from the Martial Arts book created by Silhak Scholars and Baek Dong Soo (master of martial arts – I watched the historical drama too) which ordered by King Jeongjo. These martial arts are from Joseon Dynasty, China and Japan. The performance started and I watched intently until the show was over, I enjoyed the whole show.

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At Sinpungnu (Preparing for the Martial Arts Performance)

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Snapshots from Martial Arts Performance

The continuation of the walking tour along Hwaseong Fortress will be describe in another post following this one. Until then.

Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed By Heaven) – Back to the Past Adventure – Part 1

It was the first day of our adventure, we had our breakfast from the hotel and went straight to our first destination – Gyeongbokgung Palace. I found this palace from the travel book that I bought when I was in Sydney. The book titled “Top 10 Seoul”.  We arrived at the palace by taking metro train from hotel. From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and get off at Gyeongbokgung station. We felt excited seeing some of the photos of the palace on our way. We passed the National Palace Museum and walked at the side gate (Yongseongmun) of the Palace from the Museum. We saw a lot of tourist taking pictures and I felt great to be in this place. My mom and my sister immediately posted their selves for a photo shot. I am the one who brought the DSLR camera, and most of the time I am the one who take pictures which I like because I wanted to capture a lot of things if possible, everything that my eyes see.

When we entered a small gate at the left side of the palace, we saw a ceremony that was being performed. Though I never understand what was happening at first until I learned it later of the day that it was the Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance. We enjoyed the show because of the colorful costumes the royal guards re-enacting the performance.

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Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance

We went to the tourist ticketing area, we bought ticket and brochure guide that we need in our tour. From the guide in my hand, I learned that the main gate is called Gwanghwamun. Based from history this gate is the main gate and south gate of the palace. The next gate we passed is called Heungnyemun (first gate inside the palace walls at the front). This is the gate where tickets are being checked. We saw a small bridge called Yeongjegyo. We walked again until we reach another gate which is called Geunjeongmun. Finally we saw the huge hall named Geunjeongjeon. Based from our brochure, this is the main throne hall where most of the King’s official state affair is happening during Joseon dynasty.

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Gwanghwamun Snapshots

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Heungnyemun Snapshots

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Geunjeongjeon (Outside Snapshots)

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Geunjeongjeon (Interior Snapshots)

Next buildings we saw are just behind of Geunjeongjeon is Sajeongjeon. As far as I remember, the middle of the building are still in restoration. While its side building on the west is Cheonchujeon and on the east is Manchunjeon which seems completely restored, while long corridors that connects these two side buildings to Sajeongjeon is not yet rebuilt.

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Sajeongjeon (Interior Snapshot – Currently being renovated)

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Some shots at west building beside Sajeongjeon called Cheonchujeon

Then we moved to the famous building near the lake called Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. This is the place where most of the banquets in the palace were happened before. This is the famous place where most of the Historical drama of Korea were shot. The settings of the Pavilion is somewhat romantic, it is great scenery where the King and its lovers (either the queen or concubine) probably had a great time for themselves.

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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

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Pond at Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

We walked outside the wall of the Pavilion until we saw another gate leading to an open space with mountain. I really like the place, I can understand why the royal family has palace located on this place, for me its a great place for great view of the mountain. We walked straight until we saw the Janggo. Here we found a lot of Jars seating on the terrace. The jars contain fermented paste and soy sauce which is the traditional way of fermentation in South Korea.

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Outside View after passing Gyeonghoeru Pavilion beside Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang

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Jars at Janggo

At the front of Janggo, there is a nearby building and its vicinity called Hamhwadang and Jipgyoengdang. Based from the information of my handbook guide, that this place is the queen’s living quarters, residence known as Heungbokjeon and facilities for concubines and court ladies.

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Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang (Outside view from Janggo)

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Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang (Some internal view snapshots)

We moved on to the next vicinity in the palace until we found a square pond called Hyangwonji and we saw islet in the middle of the pond and there standing the small pavilion called Hyangwonjeong. The setting of this place for me is similar to Gyeonghoeru pavilion, very romantic. While reading the guide, I realized that this small pavilion is the place where Queen Myeongseong (queen of King Gojong) killed by the Japanese.

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Hyangwonjeong (Pavilion) and Hyangwonji (Pond)

We went next to Jibokjae and its vicinity area. This the place where you can find building with the design of Qing Chinese style. Jibokjae was moved from other palace (Changdeokgung) after King Gojong returned to Geoncheonggung. Jibokjae has become King’s residence, library and reception hall for foreign envoys.

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Parujeong, Jibokjae and Hyeopgildang snapshots

There is one of the two vicinity areas that we missed to visit. One is Taewonjeon. We passed this one because we thought that another ticket is needed and there are still other parts of the palace that we haven’t seen. That’s why we decided to come back there if we still have time but unfortunately, we were not able to come back.

After Jibokjae area, we went to the vicinity area just beside the pond. It is called as Geoncheonggung, they say that this building is the only building with “gung” on its name which means palace, that is why they call it as palace within the palace and this is King’s Gojong’s residence where both the King and Queen has their own quarters and library.

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Jangandang at Geoncheonggung(some external snalshots)

IMG_5861Jangandang Internal Snapshot

Beside the Geoncheonggung, we found another interesting site which is called Jaseondang, which is a residence of the crown prince and princess. We saw the site because the building was destroyed, as per handbook the building was dismantled and brought to Japan,  then returned to Korea, but the materials were not usable anymore to rebuilt or restore the building.

IMG_5870Jaseongdang site

Aside from Jaseondang site, we also found another site which is called Gwanmungak. This is the first modern building in Korea but has been destroyed as well when Japanese invade Korea.

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IMG_5879Gwanmungak site

We continued our stroll inside Gyeongbokgung Palace, until we found another vicinity called Jangyeongjeon. This was the residence of Queen Dowager Jo. She is the queen who put King Gojong as the king, she is also a regent at that time when King Gojong was still young. From this location you can see from a far the National Folk Museum.

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Jangyeongjeon (Internal Snapshots)

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National Folk Museum From near Jangyeongjeon

Next vicinity we passed by are Gangnyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon. Gangnyeongjeon is the King’s living quarter, where he reads, rest and sleep, while Gyotaejeon is the queen’s main residence. In the same vicinity we found as well the Amisan garden with beautiful chimneys.

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Amisan Chimney Garden at the back of Gyotaejeon

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Some snapshots of Gyotaejeon vicinity area

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Gangnyeongjeon

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Gangnyeongjeon vicinity

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Building besides Gangnyeongjeon

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Gangnyeongjeon Internal Snapshots

And then we looked around the area of Heumgyeonggak and Hamwonjeon. This area serves as building for most of the royal household, scientific inventions can be found here during Joseon dynasty.

The second vicinity area that I think we missed to see is Donggung. I checked all the photos that I have and it seems we never been there, but I recall that there is ongoing renovation happening beside Gangnyeongjeon where Donggung is nearly located.

We went back where we started our tour and took a lot of photos. Another area we found is Sujeongjeon where there is a nearby restaurant and wash room. Based from Handbook, that Sujeongjeon  was formerly known as Jiphyeonjeon or Hall of Worthies where the Hanguel, the Korean Alphabet was invented under King Sejong.

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Sujeongjeon

With the three of us, my mom, my youngest sister and myself, I enjoyed the whole walking tour. Maybe because I was fascinated with Korean History and I can relate because of so many historical dramas that I watched. I felt like it is a living history, though I am aware that most of the buildings are restored or rebuilt because most of them has been destroyed either by fire or by Japanese invasion. But still, the replica is so detailed that you can feel those buildings and structures are for real. I am excited to see the another palace.

We went outside the Gyeongbokgung Palace through Gwanghwamun gate and we cross the road and walked in the middle of Sejong-Daero road and there we found the Sejong Center at the ground floor.  Because we are quite tired walking for long hours inside the palace, we walked a little bit to see what’s inside the Sejong Center. And there we found a lot of things about King Sejong, though I am familiar that King Sejong is the king of Jeoson where the Korean Language and Alphabet had been invented, for what I know, King Sejong is one of the Great King that South Korea is recognizing today. I remembered that I watched two historical dramas during his reign, one is Deep Rooted Tree and one is Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

IMG_6062King Sejong Portrait