Changdeok Palace, Tapgul Park, and Haengju Fortress

Changdeok Palace is one of the “Five Grand Palaces" built by the kings of the Joseon dynasty.  Changdeokgung is also referred to as the East Palace because of its location is east of Gyeongbok Palace.  The literal meaning of Changdeokgung is "Palace of Prospering Virtue".

Tapgol Park, next to Insadong, was the first modern style park in Seoul.  It is renowned as the starting point of the March First Independence Movement, where in March 1919 some 4,000-5,000 students gathered and read a declaration of independence.  It is also the former site of the Wongaksa Temple.

Haengju Fortress hosted one of the bloodiest battles during the Japanese invasion started in 1592.  After Seoul fell to the Japanese, General Kwon Yul led a small army of 2,300 to this fortress with the intent of recapturing the capital.  The battle at Haengju Mountain Fortress is considered to be one of the three most influential victories against the Japanese during the war.

The statue of General Gwon Yul (we actually started the tour at Haengju Fortress).

On the wall are carvings of those who fought in the battle.

The Chungjangsa Shrine, containing the portrait of Gwon Yul

This was as far back as I could get without having
the sun interfering with the picture.

The portrait of the General.  Unfortunately, you can't see the
wisps of incense smoke coming out of the urn that made this such a cool picture!

Deogyangjeong Pavilion, with Seoul and the Han river in the background

The original Haengju Victory Monument, built in 1602.
(The stone, not the pavilion--that was added much later.)

The third Haengju Victory Monument, built in 1963. (The second HVM, built in 1845, is located at a nearby Confucian academy.)

These drums, in the education hall, are likely used during the various festivals
held at the fortress.  (I just love drums--especially the brightly-decorated Korean ones!)

A little taste of home, somewhere in Seoul

Tapgol Park, site of the beginning of the first Korean independence movement in 1919; this monument commemorates that event.

The 10-story stone pagoda of Wongaksa Temple

A remnant of the Wongaksa Temple, built on the site in 1471

The Donhwamun entrance gate at Changdeok Palace

OSHA would have a fit about these stairs!

The Geumcheongyo bridge, crossing the stream dividing the inside and outside areas of the palace.  The bridge, built in 1411, is the oldest remaining stone bridge in Seoul.
The animal heads on the side, and the statue at the base in the stream, are to scare off evil spirits.

Injeongjeon, the throne hall

This is the only blue-roofed building in all the palaces.
The material (I didn't catch the name) had to be imported from the Middle East,
and was therefore prohibitively expensive to use.

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Last updated 23 March 2013