[ Hyang-Won-Jeong ]
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, has a beautiful landscape with the Han River flowing across from end to end and large mountains surrounding it like folding screens . It is a city with a unique view in which history, tradition, and state-of-the-art IT technology coexist.
As such, Seoul is home to numerous cultural monuments that carry the traditional beauty and history of Korea. Among these today we will introduce you to the five palaces of Seoul.
First of all, there is the Gyengbok Palace. 'Gyengbok' means 'felicitous blessing'. It is the first palace that was built with the foundation of the Joseon Dynasty and is also the first governingpalace . As much as it is the most important palace in the history of the dynasty , it is also quite enormous. Perhaps due to the luckiness conveyed by the name 'Gyengbok', this new dynasty was able to last 600 long years through glory and shame.
The photograph on the left/right shows the "Hyang-Won-Jeong", located inside the Gyengbok Palace. The two-story pavilion, "Hyang-Won-Jeong", standing on a square pond, was a private place where the royal family would come to relax. Isn't it a beautiful place ?
Second, there is the Changdeok Palace. 'Changdeok' stands for 'prospering virtue'. As a good example showing the aesthetic values of historical East Asian palace construction, Changdeok Palace was built in harmony with its surroundings, blending in perfectly. Most notably, the back garden is a must-see in the palace, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.
Next is the Changgyeong Palace. "Changgyeong' means 'flourishing gladness'. The palace is connected to the Changdeok Palace, creating an area called the 'East Palace', and as an independent palace it also provided extra living space that was lacking in the Changdeok Palace.
The fourth palace that we will introduce is the Gyenghui Palace. 'Gyenghui' means 'serene harmony'.Because it was placed in the most western position among the five palaces, it was also called 'West Palace'. The Gyenhui Palace was not built as the main seat of the government but as a kind of a royal villa.
Finally, we have the Deoksu Palace. 'Deoksu' means 'virtuous longevity'. The four palaces introduced above were the archetypes of eastern construction, whereas Deoksu Palace is famous for being the first one to have western-styled buildings. Most especially, 'Seok-Jo-Jeon' is credited for being the largest building among the western-styled constructions of early 20thcentury Korea.
The Doldam-gil(Stonewall Road) is also another famous tourist site of the Deoksu Palace. There is an interesting myth about it saying that when a couple walks along the Doldam-gil, they break up. No one knows the origin of this rumor, but because couples decide not to take risks, the road does not have that many visitors despite its beauty. Some suggest that this could be due the length of the Doldam-gil, which is about 900 meters, so couples may find it too long to walk. But if we make a cautious guess, couldn't it be that the story was made up by people who are single, just out of jealousy?
Below is the CHA's introduction of the Five Palaces of Seoul. To get more specific information please follow the link.
[ Reference ]
① Gyengbok Palace : Wikipedia
② Hyang-Won-Jeong : Naver Encyclopedia
③ Changdeok Palace(Left&Right) : http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/01/24/2012012400190.html
④ Changgyeong Palace : Wikipedia
⑤ Gyenghui Palace : http://blog.daum.net/_blog/BlogTypeMain.do?blogid=0QJlL#ajax_history_home
⑥ Deoksu Palace : http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2012/01/24/2012012400190.html
⑦ Seokjojeon : http://photo.naver.com/view/2009102223211908336
⑧ Doldam-gil : http://blog.daum.net/_blog/BlogTypeMain.do?blogid=0QJlL#ajax_history_home
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