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Throne Hall, Quiet Again
I spent the better part of a summer afternoon on the grounds of Changdeok-gung Palace, wandering the old courtyards and lush gardens of one of the most visited sites in Seoul. Originally built in 1405 as a secondary palace, this complex served as the seat of government off and on for centuries. The last remaining members of the Korean royal family lived here through much of the 20th century, through the Japanese occupation (1910-45) and the subsequent division of the country after the Korean War (1950-53). As the evening closing time neared, tourists streamed toward the exit, and I was finally able to get a photo of the imposing Throne Hall sans crowds. People may add interest and scale, but I wanted to get at least one shot of this scene, tourist-free—a bit of timelessness among the flagstones. In line with Confucian values, the name of this palace literally means "Palace of Prospering Virtue," and this throne hall, Injeong-jeon, means "Hall of Benevolent Administration." Words for governments to live up to. (For a view of the interior of the throne hall:
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