Another day, another palace… or as I like to call it, a Thursday. Today my new friend Vicky showed me around town which included a stop at Gyeongbukgung Palace.
The Joseon Dynasty built the palace (aka ‘Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven’) shortly after their dynasty was founded in 1395. Gyeongbukgung stood in the heart of the city and still does today. It served as the main palace for over 500 years with a complex history that includes being burned to the ground during the Japanese invasion in the late 1500s.
For 270+ years after it burned the grounds remained uncared for. And let me tell you, these ARE grounds… expansive, rolling, regimented, etc. The Japanese also apparently have a major beef with this palace because they demolished it again in 1911 during the occupation. Restoring it to its former glory remains an ongoing process to this day.
For me the jewel of the grounds was Hyangwonjeong, this delightful little pavillion in the middle of a pond. If this was my palace, I would invite you for tea and cocktails here. However, the pavilions history isn’t all roses… it is located in the rear garden of the concubine’s quarters and adjacent to the site where Queen Myeongseong was assasinated in 1895. Yikes.
It is remarkable to see the traditional architecture of this palace juxtaposed to the bustling and modern Seoul just beyond its gates. You almost forget you are in a City when you look North with the mountains ahead of you.
One other thing that I just loved… all the painted ceilings. I’m obsessed, but Danimal, I SWEAR I won’t suggest we do this at our house . I want us to stay married.