04 April 2009

Walking Tour of Seoul

Last Sunday, I went on a walking tour of Seoul's Joseon era palaces conducted by the Royal Asiatic Society's Korea Branch. The tour itself was fairly well done and I was continually impressed by the guide's extensive knowledge of Korean History. (Though his knowledge of non Korean History and Politics could have used a tiny bit of refinement).

We started the tour at Deoksugung Palace which is located next to Seoul City Hall subway station (Line 1 and Line 2).

The palace complex has several preserved and brightly painted buildings.

The above building was designed by a British Architect and constructed at the end of the 19th century.

Side View

This building was built quite a bit later during the Japanese Colonial Period and it adjoins the above building.

More of the Palace Complex

You can see the city in the background of this shot.

Site of the former Imperial Russian Legation
The American Ambassador's residence is down the hill and to the left

Another Palace

The original was destroyed during the Japanese Colonial period and was later rebuilt by the Korean Government. This one sits behind the Seoul city museum.

Traditional Korean Houses

The Blue House

This is the home of the President of Korea and is the site of the infamous Blue House Raid when a group of North Korean commandos infiltrated in an attempt to assassinate President Park Chung-hee.

Picture from another Palace

Government Building on the Grounds of another Palace

The Last Palace

Members and relatives of the Korean Royal Family lived in this palace until 1991 when it was acquired by the Government.

Fairly sure that this is a palanquin


The Grounds

Another shot of the grounds

Train Tracks

All in all it was a fairly good tour, if a bit long (8 hours). An amusing consequence of this was the fact that I got a mild sunburn. When I showed up to school the next day, the students were all convinced that my face was red because I'd been drinking heavily all weekend and several of the other teachers thought it was because I was angry about something.

If you are in Korea, I recommend checking out the the Royal Asiatic Society's Korea Branch's website for a list of future tours. The cost for the one I went on was 20,000 won and I learned a lot about Korean History.

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