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Seoul Palace: Royal Guard Changing Ceremony

A palace is a spectacular sight in every corner of the world. But sometimes the events around the monument have that special edge, that make it a unique lomographic location.

The Gyeongbok Palace is placed in the northern part of the city. It has been the seat of Korean power from the end of the 14th century until the 20th century. Troubled through war and invasions, it was destroyed and rebuilt many times. It expands on a territory of 5.4 million square feet and it’s placed in between the two great mountains of Keunjeong-jon and Pukhan-san, which ought to represent harmony. It is quite impressive to be in one of the busiest and most hectic cities in the world and looking at the palace and mountains just calms you down. Glancing at mountains always makes you humble. So that was smart city planning. Nowadays, it is a grand tourist attraction. But I like it not only because of the historic value of it’s stones but because of the dramatic show around it. The main gate (Kwanghwa-mun) and a large square between the palace and the gate are free of charge and therefore, well visited at all times. A unique experience is the changing of the guards in front of the main gate. Actors of ancient soldiers in antique costumes line up and follow a specific choreography. The suits and the flags are very rich in detail and very impressive. The cutest thing are the fake mustaches of the guards.

Everything is well orchestrated. The actors follow the guidance of directors in black coats, who communicate with each other through headsets. This procedure has been reenacted since 1996, when the government opened up for more tourism and made some smart decisions. The changing of the guards is presented everyday but Monday from 10am to 4pm, but I reckon it is only really fun when the sun is shining. I was so lucky and had the most marvelous day for my visit. I couldn’t stop taking shots of the events. And eventually these sudden encounters captured the most vivid memories.

The address is 1 Sejong-no, Jongno-gu 110-050. Best way to reach it is to take the subway line number 3 to Geongbokgung station (exit 5) or line 5 Ganghwamun station (exit 2). Or just take a cab.

written by wil6ka

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