Seoul – the soul of Korea
Seoul, guarded by four mountains, is one of the most progressive economies and is one of the nuclei of East Asia's financial and cultural power. A city that has been very well organised and planned, it has the important aspects of Feng Shui embedded in its entire diameter. One of the pioneers in cutting edge digital technology, active nightlife and street food legacy, it is extraordinarily zealous in the field of education as well. The ancient architecture blends harmoniously with the modern framework, making it one of the most visited tourist societies in the world.
Destroyed and rebuilt several times, the Gyeongbokgung Palace has been one of the most important palaces in Seoul. It was the creation of the Josean dynasty and translates to ‘palace of the shining happiness’. Boasting of 7700 rooms in total, it also houses museums, ornamental gardens, large pavilions, open courtyards, state banquets and artificial lakes making it the largest royal residence in the city.
This small fairy tale settlement which has been in existence for 600 years is nestled between the beautiful palaces of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung and literally means ‘North Village’. This place has a collection of 900 hanoks or homes as they are called in Seoul reflecting the intricate style of the Josean dynasty and an insight into traditional Korean homes.
The Koreans set up an establishment to redeem the Korean independence in 1905 called the Gwangjang Corporation. This was in lieu of the temporary marketplaces which came alive only for a few days in a month. A perfect place to shop for home decor and weddings, it is the largest customary markets reputed for its high quality silk merchandise, linens and handicrafts. It is also known for the abundance of street food it has on display.
One of the World Heritage Sites, Jongmyo is the oldest and most sacred Confucian shrine. Continuing an age-old tradition of celebrating the ancestors of the Josean Empire, the teachings of the Joseans have been indoctrinated in the form of tablets, also called ‘the spirit tablets’. There is a belief that their spirits have their abodes in these wooden tablets. Religious rituals which include dance, song and music take place regularly.