Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Snapshots from Seoul (part 1)

We ventured out one night to photograph the Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate) (숭례문).  From Visit Korea (link),

Sungnyemun Gate is Korea’s National Treasure No. 1, and its unofficial name is Namdaemun Gate. Sungnyemun Gate is the largest castle gate stone structure with an arched entrance in the middle.

Different from the other gates, Sungnyemun’s tablet has its name written vertically. When the first king of Joseon Dynasty, Lee Seong-Gye (reign 1335-1408), had constructed the capital city, he believed that fire will reach to Gyeongbokgung Palace as well as the capital city as Mt. Gwanaksan of Seoul is shaped like fire according to feng-shui principles. Sungnyemun’s name means fire, which is from the harmony of the Five Elements and if written vertically, the Chinese character ‘fire’ looks as if it is providing protection. This was Taejong’s (1367-1422) first son, Yangnyeongdaegun’s (1394-1462) famous writing.

In front of Gyeongbokgung Palace, King Sejong sits in Gwanghwamun Square.  From Visit Korea (link), 

King Sejong is best remembered as the inventor of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. During his reign, he consolidated the basis for ruling the Joseon Dynasty by incorporating Confucian philosophy of politics. Furthermore, he led the nation's great strides in agriculture, literature, science and technology.

We discovered an underground museum for King Sejong.  My family sat on the replica throne with the mountain screen.

Here's a few of the king's musical accomplishments.

I liked this carving!

King Sejong has company, as the square also hosts Admiral Yi Sun-Shin.  From Visit Seoul (link),

Near the statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin are the 12·23 Fountain and Yeoksamulgil ("Waterway of History"). The fountain’s name commemorates a great victory in 1597, when Admiral Yi defeated 133 Japanese naval ships with only 12 ships of his own, and also recalls how he fought 23 battles without a single defeat. 

Across the square is the US Embassy, celebrating 60 years of "partnership and prosperity".   


Kim in Korea 


  1. Thank you for today's history lession with beautiful pictures - love it.

  2. Love the pic on the throne.

  3. Wonderful pix Kim. Your hubby doesn't seem too impressed by the throne, lol. I am in awe at the amazing things you have seen with your own eyes, thank you for giving us a taste of your experiences and glad you have been able to have some family time after being apart for so long!

  4. I love the shot of your guys. Those different expressions are priceless!

  5. Great as always but will we be seeing you in any pics?

  6. I love all the colors that are used in the buildings and decorations, paint, etc. So beautiful and cheerful.

  7. I too like the carving! I'm afraid the names are way to hard to try and pronounce lol.

  8. I cannot image being in such an exotic location, hope you and family are enjoying yourselves.

  9. The throne picture is really cute. And wow, that gate photo is cool. I like the flag too, celebrating the 60 years. Keep enjoying your trip! I love all the sights you are getting to see and experience.