Sunday, September 10, 2006

Notes from Korea – 1

Yesterday we visited the National Museum of Korea, which has numerous national treasures such as ancient maps, royal artifacts, Buddhist sculptures, calligraphy, ceramics, and the like. The museum was completed in October 2005 after eight years of construction.

(Buddhas always give me the creeps.)

Today we did a little sightseeing after church and visited Deoksugung Palace in Seoul. According to the info on the ticket,

“Deoksugung Palace was originally built as a residence for Prince Wolsandaegun, the elder brother of King Seongjong. In 1593, about a century later, King Seonjo returned to Seoul after the Japanese invasion of 1593 and established a temporary residence here.

“Haenggung, as it was called, was renamed Gyeongungung by the next ruler, Gwanghaegun. After King Injo held a coronation ceremony in Jeukjodang Hall and moved to Changdeokgung Palace, Deoksugung Place remained vacant for about 200 years.

“In 1897, King Gojong took up residence in Changdeokgung Palace as a main palace. In 1907, he abdicated his throne to King Sunjong. Since then, the palace has been known as Deoksugung.

“Deoksugung Seokjojeon was constructed in 1909 and has been used as a part of the Royal Museum since 1992.”

Here are some pics from today.

Detail of the eaves of one of the buildings on the palace grounds.

Detail of the roof of one of the buildings on the palace grounds.

One of the buildings on the palace grounds.

Kids will be kids - musty old artefacts and historical displays are on the boring side, so you have to make your own fun.

On the other hand, if you're young enough, you really don't care one way or the other, as long as your tummy's full and your diaper's not.

And now for some singularities:

At the National Museum, there were no water fountains. Instead, there were water coolers, with little paper envelopes that were used as drinking cups.

Up until today, I had only heard about these things:

Thankfully, there were Western options available.

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