SEOUL

 




Changdeok Palace
Jongmyo Shrine
Changgyeong Palace
Deoksu Palace
Insa-dong Antique shop

 

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Seoul is the capital city of Korea where the Fifa World Cup 2002 was held. It is a cosmopolitan city and its population is more than 10 million. It is not a multicultural society but people from more than 90 different countries live in Seoul. There are many good places to visit. 

Changdeok Palace is the most beautiful royal palace and thirteen of the Chosun Dynasty kings lived there. It is renowned for exquisite gardens and courtyards, one of which is Biwon (Secret Garden) where kings and other members of the royal family went to relax and entertain. Biwon was registered as a World Cultural Heritage site. 

Jongmyo Shrine and The National Folk Museum are other places that you can go to experience the history of Korea. There you can see the royal family from long ago in court costumes of the Chosun period performing elaborate rituals in Jongmyo Shrine. They do this to pay respect to their royal ancestors. The Royal Shrine Ritual, Jongmyo Daeje accompanied by traditional court music is performed in May each year. 

Changgyeong Palace was built as a summer palace for the kings of the Koryo Dynasty (which existed before Chosun Dynasty). So the east-west orientation of the building is different from that of Chosun Dynasty.There is an overpass to Chongmy Shrine at the southern part of the grounds.

Gyeongbok Palace and Deoksu Palace are located in the centre of the city, they both have beautiful ponds and gardens. Kings' royal official buildings of Chosun Dynasty and private houses are also good places to look around. Gyeongbok Palace was built as the primary palace of the Chosun Kingdom by its founder - King Taejo in 1395. Keunjeong-jeon in Gyeongbok Palace was used as the royal throne hall. Kings conducted state affairs, held official functions and received foreign envoys here. You can also see the beautiful chimney forming a part of the wall of the courtyards, decorated with various designs for long life, wealth, and many offspring, and also for signs to expel evil.On the lower part of the wall is a large ornamental panel. Above the panel are designs of a dragon in the centre and a crane on either side and beneath the panel  are designs of mythological fire-eating beasts - Haetae, for warding off evil and fire.

Deoksu Palace, placed in downtown Seoul across the street from City Hall, is the smallest palace in Seoul and contrasts the modern with the traditional. It has been designated as a Historic Site by the government for the protection and for preservation also. Outside the throne room many stone markers have been erected in order, which indicate the positions where officials stand during royal ceremonies. In front of the main Gate (Daehanmun) you can watch the ceremony of changing the Royal Guard with the combination of verbal orders, wonderful flags and musical instruments used.

If you visit Insa-dong, you can see living traditional Korean culture - which is always a good thing for foreign visitors to experience. You can also find lots of exquisite traditional tea houses, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants where they serve traditional Korean food. On Sundays there is interesting promptu street performance. The area is blocked off from traffic, allowing people to experience all sorts of cultural events such as Tuhanori - a game of throwing arrows into a pot, also making traditional rice cake and pottery art.


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