Confession: I TOOK NONE OF THESE PHOTOS. I guess I’m officially a fraud. They were actually taken by Hannah (hannahandthefirstcrusade.wordpress.com) so any and all photo creds go to her! Be sure to check her out!
Some people say that a nation’s big cities never capture the dimensions of its people’s culture or history. Ehhh… true? However, I would say that there are a few places in Seoul that may peak your interest in these areas since they give you a quite a bit of historical and cultural tease. Surrounded by mountains and the metropolis, Gyeongbokgung Palace of the Joseon Dynasty (1395!) did just that for me.
As soon as we stepped on the palace grounds, I thought– Yep, I belong here. I mean… I’ve always been a Queen. But Gyeongbokgung made me think about other elements of the royal life that I had always wanted, aside from the posh lifestyle complemented nightly royal parties. This palace embodied grandeur and peace. Though the buildings were incredibly beautiful from afar, the magnificence of the architecture are captured in the detailed designs of each structure. Though there were plenty of people scurrying around, the vibes were still somehow quite calming.
Being there at night just made the entire atmosphere more majestic. There’s something about lights illuminating the intricate artwork on each of the structures that enhances its beauty. All around the palace, you can see people strolling about proudly in traditional Korean Hanbok which adds to the cultural aspects of the experience (from a foreigner’s perspective, I guess). You can even rent your own Hanbok attire for the night and further immerse yourself in Korean culture. (Don’t worry about cultural appropriation, either. You’re all in context boo!)
By the end of the night, we enjoyed an incredible light and dance show that told a royal story (y’all know I love a good narrative), and we got to gawk at a masterpiece that was important enough to be restored and revived after alllllll it has been through (Peep here for some info because whew: http://www.royalpalace.go.kr/html/eng/data/data_01.jsp?dep1=2).
So thank you, Korea, for sharing a piece of your history through the “Palace Greatly Blessed By Heaven.” Is there any way I can get one of these?