A cold and windy afternoon in Seoul provided a somewhat ‘rustic’ backdrop for my visit to the city’s Gyeongbokgung Palace, which coincided with the changing of the guard ceremony.
The above video is actually a prelude to the actual changing of the guards which was quite a long winded process and not nearly as interesting; with lots of marching around and standing still…then some more marching…and then standing still!
I was quite disappointed to learn that the palace as it stands is not completely original (the buildings were initially constructed in the 14th century by King Taejo, when it served as Seoul’s principal palace), having being razed by the Japanese in both the 16th and 20th centuries. So what you actually see here toady is only around 40% original with the remainder of the compound consisting of modern reconstructions.
Nonetheless, it was still a spectacular experience and most of all it was so interesting to observe the Korea that is currently being played out in the news and then to observe it first hand in person. There doesn’t seem to be ‘tension’ in the air- people are admirably going about their daily lives as usual, although most kindly advised me not to visit the DMZ (which I had really wanted to go to) at the present time!