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Seoul for the History Buff

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From ancient dynasties to the Japanese occupation and the Korean War, Seoul is rife with history. Seoul's many museums, monuments, and palaces will pique the interest of even the most demanding history buff as well as bestow interesting facts to novice historians. While Seoul is as modern and bustling as can be, the soul of the city truly lies in its fascinating history.
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29 Itaewon-ro, Namyeong-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Seoul’s War Memorial Museum is a massive complex that can easily eat up a history buff’s whole day. The big-ticket items—tanks, planes, missiles—are outside; inside is a complete history of military actions in Korea. One...

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1 Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Current tensions require close monitoring, but Cheong Wa Dae is open for visitors. From its mountainside overlooking central Seoul, "The Blue House" is the official residence of the South Korean president, and if you apply weeks in advance with...
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Palpan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Throne Hall of Gyeongbok-gung Palace in Seoul has a lofty name based on Confucian principles: "Geun-jeong-jeon," meaning "diligence helps governance"—words for politicians to live by, eh? Originally built in the 1390s when a new dynasty...
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161 Sajik-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

This “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven” was once the heart of Korea. It was the power center of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897), and was originally built in 1395—some new digs for a new dynasty. Like the Forbidden City in ...

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99 Yulgok-ro, Waryong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
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...
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Seobinggo-ro, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The Korean alphabet, known as hangeul, is the only alphabet in the world where the letters were created to resemble the shape the mouth makes as you voice them. Created by King Sejong in the mid 15th century as a way to educate the illiterate, the...