This majestic building, built in 1395 and repeatedly destroyed by the Japanese occupations—but rebuilt each time—celebrates the greatness of the nation. The largest of the five dynastic palaces of the city, it was the kings residence and the place from whence he sent out his royal edicts to his subjects. Nestled in the heart of the city, the royal complex is surrounded on both sides by mountains protecting it from the wind. Several buildings can be visited, including the Hyangwonjeong pavilion, erected in the middle of a lake, and Gyeonghoeru pavilion, with its 48 pillars. Young Koreans in traditional dress (hanbok) wander about the grounds, and theyre usually open to having their picture taken. At the entrance, guards, utterly immobile, wear the same uniforms as their predecessors in the distant past. Be sure to catch the changing of the guard, accompanied by the sound of drums, and finish your day with a tour of the National Folk Museum.
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