Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gyeongbokgung Pavilions

In spite of the grand front gate of Gwanghwamun and the majestic throne room, the most splendid parts of the palace remained yet to be seen. Here, a cauldron stands on the platform near the throne room looking back at the throne room gate.

On the way to the beautiful pavilions, I passed by this neat elevated hall. Not sure exactly what its purpose was but perhaps it was one of the residences for the royal family.

This was probably one of my favourite buildings in all of the palaces in Seoul.  Gyeonghoeru Pavilion was the state banquet hall during the Joseon Dynasty and is beautifully constructed in the middle of an artificial lake on top of large stone pillars.  The hall is connected to the rest of the palace via stone bridges.  The lake and hall are deliberately set in front with Bugaksan mountain standing in the background, making for a spectacular view.

Nearby is the picture-perfect Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, also built in the middle of another lake connected via a lovely bridge known as Chwihyanggyo. The pavilion's name translates somewhat to "Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragance" and while there weren't any discernible fragances nearby, the scene itself was certainly intoxicating enough to make you want to sit there all day to admire its serenity and beauty. I think if the sky was more blue that day and if the lily pads had flowers in bloom, I could literally sit here for hours and not be bored.

For those drama fans out there, at least two korean dramas (Tree With Deep Roots and The Moon Embraces The Sun) and I'm sure there are many more had some scenes filmed here

The National Folk Museum is also hosted on the Gyeongbokgung palace grounds and is built in various Korean architectural styles.

Outside the Folk museum, there were some musicians dressed in traditional garb playing folk instruments for an attentive audience.

I should also point out that there were some neat sculptures of the animals of the chinese zodiac nearby.

As part of the folk museum exhibit, in front of the main museum buildings was a replica of some traditional Korean village buildings. On the right is a statue known as a Dolhareubang, a stone grandfather sculpture found on Jeju Island and placed outside town gates to ward off the evil spirits. Certainly quite an eye-opener and reminded me of the Easter Island statues =P

Dongjaseok, Bucksu and Muninseok are other kinds of statues believed to have protective spiritual powers.

The Hyojagak was a special structure used to protect a commemoration stone.

The Jangseung and Sotdae were also placed at village entrances to protect villagers against evil spirits.  Some of these were erected outside the tourism office at Suwon City.

One last glimpse of the buildings in the Gyeongbokgung palace compound from the east gates before leaving  for Deoksugung, the last palace of the day.

No comments:

Post a Comment