On the way to Cambodia, a long scale at Seoul allowed me to have a glimpse of this major metropolis. This city has many interesting sights and deserves more than a few hours visit but Having only 10 hours, we decided to see some historical sights and we headed to Changdeokung Palace.
Changdeokung Palace was used as the secondary palace (main was Gyeongbokgung) for 200 years. After the palaces were burnt down during the Japanese invasion in the late 16th century, it was the first to be reconstructed and since then it has served as the main seat of the dynasty for 250 years. This palace is very interesting (and unconventional at the same time) because apart from being designed in accordance with traditional palace layout principles, its buildings and pavillions are adapted to the natural terrain. The buildings were constructed of wood, set on stone platforms and many of them feature tiled hipped roofs with a corbelled multi-bracket system and ornamental carvings.
Maybe the most interesting part of this Palace is the visit of the Biwon (The Secret Garden), a six-acre garden filled with woodland paths, lotus ponds, and pleasure pavillions. To visit the Biwon we needed to join a 3 hours guided tour and the only one available at that time was in Korean. After some hesitation, we decided to buy the tickets because “it was that tour or nothing” and apparently it was worth the visit. It was funny to find ourselves amongst all those “little Koreans” 🙂
I am sure that the tour was very interesting but I did not understand a word about what our guide said. Instead, I enjoyed the landscape, its indigenous trees and flowers and the pavilions’ architecture. Even if it was a cold day of winter, the weather was dry and the shinning sun helped with the pictures.
After the visit, it was time for lunch. Call me coward but I did not dare taste Korean specialities like Kimchi or a green and stinky soup that I had seen somewhere and I found safer a quick Big Mac 😉
My Seoul Pictures :
|2012 12 SOUTH KOREA|