Monday, April 21, 2014

Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeongbokgung Palace

It was a beautiful, clear day in Korea - what to do, what to do?  We decided it was about time to get out and explore a bit more, so we jumped on the subway and headed towards City Hall. It was Easter weekend, so we couldn't resist a picture with this critter on a subway bench:

Heading out of exit 4 at City Hall Station, this is what we saw:

This time of year, there are lanterns hung all over the city, as the Lotus Lantern Festival and Buddha's birthday are coming up. Due to the recent and tragic ferry boat incident, which has the entire nation in a state of mourning, many of the festivals have been canceled or postponed - but there were still some lanterns to be seen on our walk.

Next we passed the start of the scenic Cheonggyecheon Stream, a reclaimed waterway designated for walking and often decorated throughout the various seasons.

<--  large sculpture at the start

one of the fountains

As we made our way towards the palace, we walked along Gwanghwamun square,
a central island that leads up to the palace.

Here we saw numerous fountains and statues, including this memorial
for Admiral Yi Sun Shin and a replica of the "Turtle ship".

Next was King Sejong the Great, the most respected king of the Joseon Dynasty and creator of Hangeul, Korea's alphabet, as well as various scientific instruments.


Lastly, was this beautiful over-sized lantern, meant to resemble a stone pagoda, installed to celebrate Buddha's birthday - read more here.  The wind was pretty decent this day, so each of the pictured bells were chiming away and the sound was lovely.

This brought us to the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace,
where the guards stand much in the fashion of those in the UK at Buckingham Palace.
We had to have our photo op, of course.

Say "Kimchi"!

Inside the complex, there were numerous structures, all with beautiful woodwork and colors.

On the grounds, there is also the National Folk Museum of Korea, which has lovely galleries, outdoor attractions, and a Children's Museum....this made for a VERY full day (and tired feet), but we had a ton of fun.  Here are some pictures from that last part of our day - enjoy!


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