Monday, January 23, 2012


Last December I spent a few days in South Korea  for business - mostly in Seoul. Our agenda was quite full, we visited every day several companies. Typically we were picked up at 8:30 am at the hotel and often we didn’t get back before 8 pm or we had even a business dinner at the evening. That left not much time for sight seeing and taking pictures. At least at the days of arrival and departure I managed to visit some of the palaces.

I stayed at the Westin Chosun Hotel which is located in the vicinity of the town hall and the major department stores.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
The Gyeongbokgung Palace (‘Palace of Shining Happiness’) is a royal palace located in northern Seoul. It is in a walking distance from the city hall. One could describe it better as a palace city than just a palace. First constructed in 1394 was it the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul. The palace was once nearly destroyed during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–1598), and then reconstructed in 1867 to form a complex of 330 buildings and 5792 rooms. It was then destroyed again during the Japanese occupation of Korea after 1911, more demolition was happening to the palace city during the Korean War.
More information about the Gyeongbokgung Palace at Wikipedia.

Change of the guards at Gwanghwamun gate, the southern entrance to the palace

The western front of the Geunjeongjeon (Throne Hall)

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion
The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion built in the late 19th century. Today the bridge leads from the south to the island. The original bridge was connecting the island from the north, it was destroyed during the Korean War.

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, is a hall that was used to hold important and special state banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. The present building was constructed in 1867. The first Gyeonghoeru was built during the early 15th century, but it was burned down during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592

Modern and historic Korea sets a nice contrast.

Changdeokgung Palace and Changgyeonggung Palace
Changdeokgung (‘Palace of Prospering Virtue’) is located in the north-eastern part of Seoul. Again this is rather a palace city, it was also heavily destroyed during the Japanese occupation. In 1997 Changdeokgung became a UNESCO World Heritage.

Main gate
A pagoda detail
Towards the Injeongjeon Hall

More impressions from Seoul
Some evening left the chance to discover the neighborhood and also the company visits gave the opportunity for some photographic expressions.

Myeong-dong is a busy modern shopping district…

…but traditional snacks are cooked freshly on the streets

View on the Han River from the LG twin towers
The technology Seoul: Samsung show room ‘d’light’

Other places I visited and I would recommend to visit when staying in a down town hotel are:
Namdaemun Market – a rather traditional market with lots of little stands and shops. In the evening cook shops are dominating.
Insa-dong – a street with an interesting mixture of galleries, boutiques and souvenir shops.

This pictures were taken with the wide-angle (12-24 mm), the standard zoom (18-55 mm) and the tele zoom (70-300 mm). 

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