Saturday, 19 July 2014

창경궁 | Changgyeonggung Palace

This blog post is technically one of two, because I like to keep everything compact and tidy, and I'm too verbose to have two locations in one post, even though we did it all in one day. Sigh.

We met up with Erin and Morgan to go on an adventure! We settled on visiting a palace AND an Art Village, because the great thing about Seoul is that there's hundreds of things to do and usually within a short distance of each other.

The palace we went to was Changgyeonggung. For only 1000 won per person, it's a great place for a day (or half-day) out!
History Lesson: It was originally a summer palace during Goryeo times, and later became one of the 5 Grand Palaces.

The weather was great, with blue skies, and not as much humidity as we'd seen in the days prior. As with many old buildings in South Korea, there's a lot of very intricate detail in the woodwork and decorations, as well as being very lush, with many trees and lawn areas. It's always nice to see places like this in the middle of large, busy cities.

He's smiling on the inside.

I don't have much to say other than the fact it's a very beautiful place, and I can see why it was popular as a summer palace. The many paths and walks available are shaded from the sun, to keep you cool, but there are also great sun spots, and places to sit and think.

Confusingly, we came across this place:

It's a Victorian Greenhouse? In the middle of an ancient palace, in Seoul.

I'm confused.

It turns out that, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the decision was made to turn this palace into a sort of theme park. They built a zoo and botanical gardens here, as well as this greenhouse which was modelled on the then-new Crystal Palace building in London.

The zoo and gardens have since been removed, as they were seen as a severe injustice and highly dishonorable, but the greenhouse remains.*

It's called Daeonsil (대온실) meaning Great Greenhouse, and is full of gorgeous potted plants, as well as a small water feature. Even the small maze-like hedge topiary outside looks like it would be right at home in an English stately home.

Anyway, it's a great place and probably actually good for multiple visits. Some of Korea's National Treasures are in here, including an unusual hemisphere-shaped sundial, which was really cool to see.

My next post will be about Naksan Art Village, which is where we hiked to after visiting this palace.

<<* All of the history I write about is from my own research, so if I'm wrong PLEASE LET ME KNOW! ^^;>>

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