Saturday 18 July 2020

Historic Seoul South Korea


Seoul was the stopover for from Tokyo to Tashkent in Uzbekistan on Asiana Airlines so a short stop was appropriate. I had visited Korea several times for work, but had never been to a tourist attraction in Seoul.

The first place visited was Changdeokgung , which is located near Anguk Subway Station. .Changdeokgung Palace was built in 1405 as a royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a calm and elegant palace.

After visiting the Changdeokgung Palace, take a walk through the area called Bukchon that stretches to the west of Changdeokgung Palace . Bukchon is lined with many traditional Korean houses called Hanok. In this area, there were workshops and galleries of traditional crafts, and it was fun to walk around. 

The area of ​​Bukchon is intricate with narrow alleys, so we recommend that you get a map of "Bukchon Walk" at the Bukchon Cultural Center before you start walking. After walking the recommended walking route marked on the map and passing through Bukchon from east to west, you will arrive at Gyeongbokgung Palace .

Gyeongbokgung Palace , west of Bukchon, is a royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty built at the end of the 14th century. It was a Sunday and Gyeongbokgung  was full of young people in Korean traditional costumes! The Imperial Palace, Changdeokgung, is a World Heritage Site, but Gyeongbokgung Palace is not a World Heritage Site. Gyeongbokgung was destroyed by fire in the 16th century and was rebuilt in the 19th century, but many buildings in the royal palace were destroyed during the Japanese rule, and a government building was built on the site. Restoration work started about 30 years ago to restore the appearance of the royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, and at the first glance, it seems that the former royal palace has been restored, the restoration is expected to take another ten years or so.

After visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace, head south to Gwanghwamun Square .A statue of Sejong (the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty) standing in Gwanghwamun Square

Deoksugung is opposite City Hall and  much smaller than Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung, but there are not only traditional Korean buildings, but also stone western buildings on the premises, which makes it a good atmosphere. is. Walk further south from Deoksugung, you can see Namdaemun .

Namdaemun is the gate of the castle that once surrounded old Seoul. Since it is on the south side of the castle, it is commonly called Namdaemun, but the official name of the gate is Sunnemun .The  Namdaemun Market (Namdaemunshijang) occupies  the area to the east side of the gate .

It is a lively market with clothes and sundries, street vendors, and food stalls lined up, and when you enter a narrow alley, the dining halls are lined up side by side.

In Seoul, I stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Seoul Namdaemun, which is right next to Namdaemun  It is a modern hotel opened in 2016 and very comfortable. If you cross the road in front of the hotel, you will reach Namdaemun Market. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes on foot to the nearest subway station (City Hall Station or Hoeken Station) and within walking distance to downtown Myeongdong. It was a really convenient location. The subway worked well but all the above were in walking distance of the hotel. The Airport bus drops and picks up near this hotel.

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