After April & I grabbed some excellent Greek cuisine in Seoul, we then spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon enjoying the clear blue sky and placid weather touring Deoksu Palace; it was truly a day to remember. Photos with descriptions are below. Enjoy!
Deoksu Palace - Served as the king's residence twice during the Joseon Dynasty. The palace was originally the home of Prince Wolsan, and King Seonjo who resided at the site following the withdraw of Japanese forces after the seven-years-war that ended in 1593. Many various Korean royalties also inhabited the palace until another Japanese occupation of Korea occurred at the turn of the 20th century. Many of the buildings were destroyed during the Japanese occupation and currently only one third of the structures that stood before the occupation, remain.
Seogeo-dang; an ancient council hall within Deoksu palace site. Built during the reign of Seonjo (1567-1608), it's the only extant two-storied building at Deoksu Palace. The majority was burned down during the Japanese occupation in 1904, but was immediately rebuilt that same year. Two wooden plaques are housed in this building written by Emperor Gojong.
Seogeo-dang; ancient council hall at Deoksu Palace.
King Sejong the Great (1397-1450) was the fourth king of the Yi dynasty (1392-1910). He is credited with the invention of Hangul (the Korean language system), the Korean alphabet, improvement of printing types, invention of sundial, water-clock, rain gauge, and many astronmical and scientific instruments. He also published the Six Codes of Economy that encouraged agriculture and attempted to adjust the land-distribution system in order to benefit everyone. Ultimately, he is credited for lighting the way for the nation's advance.
Singijeon Launcher Carriage - Invented by Choe Museon at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty and improved in 1448. This weapon is loaded with many iron-tipped bamboo arrows accompanied with a paper gunpowder rocket attached to the rear. When fired, the carriage is aimed at the proper angle and then all fuses are binded together and lit at once. The firing range is between 100-150 meters depending on weight and amount of gunpowder in each singijeon arrow. It is the oldest weapon in the world for which there is still a blue-print that was made when the weapon was constructed.
Lotus Flower - This depiction of a lotus flower is painted all around Deoksu palace, and it's significance primarily lies in Buddhism. In Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol of the true nature of being and refers to the complete purification of body, speech and mind. It is said that the white blossom represents purity and the stem stands for the practice of Buddhist teachings that help raise the mind above worldly existence and foster purity. Most importantly, the lotus signifies the removal of ignorance with the light of awakening.
Picasso & Modern Art Exhibition - Currently taking place at Deoksu Palace and is available for viewing until March 1, 2011. Picasso's fascinating and popular painting "The Woman in the Green Hat" is one of the highlight pieces among many others from a variety of artists.
Path trellis with vines at Deoksu Palace; a nice place to take a break under the sun.
The Warrior King
The King & I
Several weeks ago I also visited Namsan Tower with many friends. Photos with descriptions are below.
Namsan Tower Group Shot
Temple-like patio adjacent to Namsan Tower
Namsan Tower (& full moon) - Built in 1969 and opened to the public in 1980, Namsan Tower sits atop Namsan Mountain in Central Seoul and measures 777ft and is 1,574ft above sea level. There are four observation decks, the 4th of which is a revolving restaurant that rotates a full-revolution every 48 minutes. The majority of Seoul can be seen from the top and I plan on visiting again to obtain day-shot of the city without nightlight window reflections.