Gyeonghui-gung Palace was the smallest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty, because it was originally constructed as just a royal villa. Kings and royalties used to hold their daily excursions here. Constructed in 1617 and completed in 1623, Gyeonghui-gung Palace originally had 100 units of large and small palace structures, but were destroyed or damaged during the Japanese occupation; much like how the other palaces in Seoul suffered under Japanese tyranny. The Japanese completely destroyed Gyeonghui-gung in order to put up a school for Japanese citizens. Before the Japanese came, a total of ten kings resided in this Seoul Palace.
Seoul – one of the largest cities on the globe, and currently the biggest city in Korea as well as the developed world. Seoul is a fascinating place, one that used to be relatively unknown to western travelers in Asia. Now, however, Korean pop culture is becoming an international craze, and Seoul, more than any other city in South Korea, is getting the attention it deserves.
So what does warrant attention about Seoul? Many things, of course. One could begin with the buildings, which combine the best of the historical with the modern. There are more modern buildings than old ones in the city, as is the case for most developed places, but the relatively fewer historic structures nevertheless make up for lack of quantity in terms of quality: Seoul has 5 of the major palaces of the Korean blue-bloods, the Buddhist Bongeun Temple (near the famous GangNam borough), as well as the National Museum of Korea, which has accumulated some of the best collections on the country’s history and heritage.
But Seoul is also about modernity, of course, as indeed may be seen in its trendier districts. Try the markets at Namdaemun and Dongdaemun, the throbbing nightclubs, the casinos at GangNam and in the centre (but remember to bring a passport, as only foreigners are allowed inside due to gambling prohibitions on locals). For family fun you can try Seoul Land, the Children’s Grand Park, Everland or even the enormous Lotte World. And to breathe some cutting-edge Asian fashions into your wardrobe, head over to the fabulous stores at Myeongdong and Apgujeong. If you ever find yourself homesick, you can even head over to the international district of Itaewon and look for a restaurant serving food from your home.
Seoul isn’t large without reason: it packs every imaginable thing that can be offered into the space it takes up, which means every part of the city is worth a bit of exploration. Seoul is in a way Asia at its finest, most competitive, and most fascinating aspect, and you should definitely soak up as much of it as you can when given the chance.
Seoul is home to a number of exciting man-made and natural parks that speak loudly of the country and its people’s traditions, ideals and passions. Some of the best known Seoul parks are Boramae Park, Namsan Park, Yongsan Park, Hangang Citizen’s Park, and 4.19 Memorial Cemetery.
Boramae Park was formerly the Korean Air Force Academy. It was converted into a park in 1986, and within it constructed sports facilities, a small zoo, a huge pond, and walking paths. The 9,000-square meter pond is surrounded by willow trees and benches where [Read more…]
Dongdaemun Market in Seoul is one of two popular traditional markets that were set up in the early 20th Century. The other one is Namdaemun Market, and both are situated near an old fortress wall gate. The open-air Namdaemun Market remains very traditional, while Dongdaemun has gone through urban changes that made it more a modern high-rise department store than a traditional market. Some of the stores, though, have decided to maintain their old traditional look. Fortunately, however, Dongdaemun has maintained one important feature of a traditional Korean market – bargain sale.
“Dongdaemun” is Korea for “east gate”. Dongdaemun Market first opened sometime in 1905. It became a permanent feature in Seoul’s city and economic landscape, and in the 1970s played a major role in developing the country’s textile industry. In the 1990s, major [Read more…]
Tapgol Park or Pagoda Park may not seem much to the average tourist passing by due to its size, but there is so much history to it. It is Seoul’s first ever modern park, the original site where the Korean Independence Movement Day first gathered on March 1, 1919, and the venue where the Korean Declaration of Independence was held. As the place where the National Constitution was read in public for the first time, this park must be of national significance.
Tapgol is mostly visited by the elderly and other tourists who do not want to walk around too much. Located just east to Jongmyo Shrine, the park contains the 10-storey Wongaksa Pagoda, Palgakjung Pavilion, and Declaration of Independence Monument. The most [Read more…]
Seoul Olympic Park on Seoul-si Songpa-gu Bangi-dong was specifically constructed for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, but was also used for the 1986 Asian Games. Now that these important international games are decades over, people still come here for concerts, wedding pictorials, special events, jogging, strolling, and visiting the many facilities within the park.
Seoul Olympic park covers a wide 1.4-million square meter area with a lake, large grassy field, vast wooded park, reproduction of two historical sites, an art square (Olympic Sculpture Park) with a number of sculptures (more than 200 pieces), and a variety of [Read more…]
For a country that values its heritage and national pride, the existence of a National Museum is extremely important. The National Museum of Korea is the most important museum towards the safekeeping of Korean history and art. Other than a repository of national treasures, the museum is also a cultural organization that best represents South Korea. The National Museum commits to conduct various research studies and activities in history, art and archaeology. It initiates and implements a variety of exhibitions and educational programs.
The idea of establishing a museum of national scale was first thought of by Emperor Sunjong in 1908. Back then, the museum was called the Imperial Household Museum. In 1945, South Korea declared its independence and in that same year the National Museum [Read more…]