Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace -- is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South ... More
Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace -- is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1395, later burned and abandoned for almost three centuries, and then reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name means "Palace" [Gung] "Greatly Blessed by Heaven" [Gyeongbok]. In the early 20th century, much of the palace was destroyed by the Empire of Japan. Since then, the walled palace complex has been gradually restored back to its original form. As of 2009, roughly 40% of the original number of palace buildings still stand or are reconstructed. Source: Wikipedia
I've read and heard a lot of people comparing the Gyeongbukgung and the other Korean palaces to China's Forbidden City. In fact, most of Korea's historical architecture has been compared to China's. Well, don't be fooled. Come to any of Korea's historical structures, Gyeongbukgung being one of the best, and you'll see and feel the difference. I also recommend the Changdeokgung Palace if you're in Seoul, but go to Gyeongbukgung first.
Unlike the Forbidden City, Korean palaces are much more like temples than like those large, majestic quarters of kings and emperors. If you notice the color scheme, the jade greens, faded reds, etc., you'd notice the buildings' almost eyebrow-raising impression on you. It calms the open-minded onlooker, unlike the Forbidden Palace or even the Imperial Castle of Tokyo, which are built to impress and intimidate.
Instead, Korea's architecture tries to work with nature. So I suggest you visit Korea in early autumn to understand what I mean. The mixes of greens, reds, and yellows of the mountain trees, matches perfectly with the colors on the palaces.
I recommend you go to Gyeongbokgung before Changdeokgung because, well, Gyeongbokgung is true seat of the Joseon Dynasty, built to be the heart of Confucianism. The almost perfect balance of the Gyeongbokgung palace does not fail to impress. The Changdeokgung, on the other hand, gives almost an explanation to a tourist of Korea's uniqueness. It will make a beautiful last impression. Go to the Biwon "Secret" Garden of the Changdeokgung, look at how Koreans "built" their gardens. See how little they touched nature and how they added their own Korean touch with buildings and ponds.
You will see the beauty of Korea's seemingly small, subtle architecture in Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. Then, you will realize comparing Korean palaces with China's is just ridiculous.
At first time when I visited the palaces in Korea I just look around and not so much touced.
But after that I read a book about the palaces in Korea.
The book said that the palaces are all bulid with sciednce and all paintings have great meaning.
Even a stone locates with science and even a line in painting means the life.
After reading of the book, I visited again the palaces and then I touched dedply.
Most things what I saw, where I visited are always have meaning of life.
Nowadays Korea have been modern like Western but still they have many important traditional things. So I recommend you to visit Korea if you want to find the meaning of life.
If you have been to the Forbidden City in Beijing or toured any other palace in Asia, skip this. If you have not and you would like to see a palace while you're in Korea, I recommend it, but realize that if you have seen one palace, you really have seen them all. They are all amazingly similar. There's a changing of the guards daily (unless it's too hot or too cold). English tours regularly.
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