Sunday, March 29, 2009

Continuing from the last entry, here are some random pictures that I wanted to post:

The Blue House is like the South Korean version of our White House: it's the executive office and official residence for the President of the Republic of Korea. It's Korean name Cheongwadae literally translates to The House of the Blue Roof Tiles. (The only reason threw it together with these places pictures is because it's located accross the street from Gyeongbokgung Palace):



Yeongyeongdang is a private house located within Changdeokgung Palace. Built in 1828, this house was built "in commemoration of the honorific title Prince Hyomyeong gave to his father [King Sunjo] in order to praise his kingly virtue." However, the tour guide made it sound like the prince built it to help his dad adjust to a "regular normal life" as the monarchy began to lose its political power. So this house is where the king could get away and live like a typical aristocrat.  Thus the architecture decorations are relatively bare compared to that on other buildings in the palace grounds. This is the main gate to the house:


This is a western wall along Jagyeongjeon, the living quarters built for the Queen Dowager Jo in Gyeongbokgung Palace. This wall is decorated with blossoming plants and Chinese characters to wish for health and happiness. I just like the colorful bricks and decorations. Different is good. (Can you tell I really thought the palace architecture got repetitive?):



Seonjeongjeon Hall is where the king dealt with state affairs at Changdeokgung Palace. In fact, the meaning of Seonjeong is "to carry out good politics." The building is also notable as the only remaining building on the palace grounds with a blue-tile roof. (Parts of the palace have been rebuilt many times because of numerous fires and invasions.) Sadly, this was about as close as I could get; the area was closed off for preservation purposes:



And this is Seokjojeon from Deoksugung Palace. (No, that wasn't a mistake; this is some of the interesting Western architecture that I wrote about last time.) This stone building was used for receiving foreign envoys during the Great Korea Empire. Now it's used as part of the royal museum:



Jeonggwanheon is the resting and entertainment place of Deoksugung Palace. This is where King Gojong would come to listen to music, drink coffee/tea, and hold banquets for foreign envoys. It also has an interesting mix of Korean and Western features and it was actually designed by a Russian architect:



(You also may have noticed that all of my pictures from Deoksugung Palace were taken at night. The place is actually open till 9 PM. How cool is that?)

Finally there was the changing of the guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace:
 

They must have incredible stamina because I have no idea how they can stand still for so long. And at the same time, they've got to deal with endless obligatory photo ops with tourists:



Yay for windy days:


All of my photos from churches, shrines, and palaces in Korea can be found below:
Korea (Album II - Temples/Shrines/Churches)