Friday, May 13, 2016

GYEONGBOKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY


GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

I never knew changing of guards can be festive.

There is one part of our South Korea trip that is certain to happen.  That is, to witness the changing of the royal guards ceremony at the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

A walking distance from where we live, the winter breeze was such a comfort that it becomes a walk in the park.  With concrete stone walls that surround and spectators gathered at the central gate, we knew we were at the right place. 


GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONYGYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

It is said that in the ancient times, the royal guards of the Joseon Dynasty performed the given task by guarding the Gwanghwamun Gate, the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace where the king ruled the country.  The reenactment of the original ceremony began from 1996.  The gate guardsmen serve their sentry, perform the changing of guards and hold a parade.

Garbed in traditional costumes of primary colors, the guards have caught the interest of the tourists, complemented by the weapons, accessories and strict ceremonial procedure providing a great opportunity of a rare traditional Korean scene in downtown Seoul.

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

Excluding Tuesdays, it is best to know the schedule of the performances at the Palace.  There are three performances to watch out for and fortunately we’ve witnessed all in one visit.

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony at 10:00, 14:00 and 20 minutes per ceremony

Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on Duty Performance at 11:00, 13:00 and 10 minutes per ceremony

Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training (outside Hyeopsaengmun Gate) at 9:30, 13:30 and 15 minutes per ceremony

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

In addition to the anticipated performances, there is the Sumungun Costume Experience, to which we have queued and tried.  The costume experience is open to all and is free but only for a limited time as it happens only before and after the Guard Changing Ceremony and the Guard-On-Duty Performance.

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

Gyeongbokgung Palace remains as one of the grandest and most beautiful of the 5 palaces in Seoul.  It is also known as the Northern Palace as it is located on further north compared to the rest of the palace.  

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

The vast compound of the palace made it impossible for us to discover all the halls, structures and museums housed in it.  There are two museums within the compound and these are: The National Folk Museum and National Palace Museum of Korea.

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

Apart from the main throne hall showcasing the finest architecture in the form of detailed and meticulous roof tiles, we also passed by varied pavilions and gates of equally stunning façade.

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONYGYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY
 
GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

The changing of guards can indeed be festive and it is showcased everyday (except Tuesday) making it more accessible to the viewing public and the visitors. 

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

HOW TO GET THERE

Through the subway line Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (Seoul Subway Line 3), Exit 5 or the Gwanghwamun Station (Seoul Subway Line 5) at Exit 2.

GYEONGBUKGUNG PALACE: THE CHANGING OF ROYAL GUARDS CEREMONY

0 comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...