Junghwajeon

Yi Sun-SinThe overcast skies finally cleared a little towards the end of the week, sending thousands of fair-weather photographers out in search of subjects. I decided to take a walk round Deoksugung (덕수궁/德壽宮; lit. moral life palace), a small palace complex right in the middle of the city. Originally a mere royal residence, it was built in the late 15th century, destroyed and rebuilt several times and finally designated a main palace in 1897 before being downgraded again a mere ten years later. It’s unusual in that it contains both traditional wooden Korean palace buildings, stone Western-style buildings (built in 1910 during a modernisation push) and some “fusion” structures. This amalgamation of ancient and modern proved quite interesting – there were squeaky-clean modern art installations next to faded wooden pavilions and skyscapers looming over the whole site.

King Sejong the GreatCat (2)

Deoksugung (1)Deoksugung (2)

Deoksugung sundialCat (1)Deoksugung water clock

Deoksugung (3)The area around Deoksugung is also quite interesting – the British Embassy is right around the corner (charmingly signposted as the Embassy of Her Britannic Majesty), the strikingly Romanesque Anglican Cathedral actually overlooks the site (though I couldn’t climb the bell tower), the colonial-style City Hall was just over the road until they knocked it down and replaced it with a big steel jelly mould, there are a few excellent museums and the other palaces are a short walk away.

Euljiro towerSeoul Anglican Cathedral

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