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Time to Travel to the Past: From the Joseon Dynasty to the Modern Era

In April, Kingos are busy preparing for the midterm exam. To get rid of stress, how about relaxing peacefully by looking into the past? Kingos may be able to feel as if they have become the time traveler from a movie by visiting the Hanyang of hundreds of years ago and the Seoul of a few decades ago. Hence, the Sungkyun Times (SKT) would like to go back to the past and introduce the graceful Gyeongbokgung Palace and the bookstores in Seochon.

Becoming Kings at Gyeongbokgung Palace

Introduction to Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in the center of Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty in 1395. However, due to the Japanese Invasion of Korea, it was burned down in 1592. Around 300 years later, it started to be reconstructed with several small palaces and gates that had been preserved until then. However, during the Japanese colonial period, most palaces in Gyeongbokgung Palace had been demolished again, and they began to be restored in earnest after 1990. Gyeongbokgung Palace is well-known for its famous national treasures. In Korea, crafts or buildings with cultural or historical values are designated as treasures, and outstanding treasures are specially designated as national treasures. There are two national treasures, Geunjeongjeon Palace and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, and eight treasures, including Jagyeongjeon Palace and the Chimney of 10 Signs of Longevity.

Gate of Geunjeongjeon
Opening Hours Every Day 9:00 - 18:00
(Final Admission at 17:00)
Entrance Fee Korean Free for under 24s
\3,000 for 25 - 64
(Certification is needed)
Foreigner \3,000 for over 19s
* Free on the last Wednesday in every month (the Culture Day)
** Free for people wearing Hanbok
*** Closed on Tuesdays

Ways to Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace

Kingos from the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus should take bus No. 710 (or No. 272, No. 171) at Myeongnyun 3-ga, Sungkyunkwan University Entrance. Then, get off at Sajik-dong Community Service Center, and walk to Gyeongbokgung Palace for about six minutes. Kingos from the Natural Sciences Campus should get on bus No. 7800 at Sungkyunkwan University Station and get off at Sadang Station. Then, they should walk to Sadang Station, subway line No. 2, and transfer to line No. 3 at Seoul National University of Education Station. After getting off at Gyeongbokgung Station, it takes about four minutes to arrive at Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Tips to Enjoy Gyeongbokgung Palace

1. Selecting a Suitable Course Based on Time

As it takes about two hours to look around the whole palace, the official website of the Gyeongbokgung Palace provides three recommended courses based on time: a 40-minute course, a 60-minute course, and a 90-minute course. Among them, the SKT recommends the 60-minute course most because tourists can see various chimneys designated as treasures in addition to the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Geunjeongjeon Palace. In particular, on the course, the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion is highly recommended to visit because it is so beautiful that most tourists take pictures in front of it. Also, the small passages between palaces are good photo spots.

Gate of Jagyeongjeon
Geunjeongjeon

2. Special Points to Make Memories!

The Royal Guard-changing Ceremony is held two times a day, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. After a huge sound of the Korean drum, the chief gatekeepers at the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace change their roles for 20 minutes. Tourists can be overwhelmed by the magnificent march with the sound of Korean traditional instruments and strongly waving flags. Also, on the right side of Gyeongbokgung Palace, there is a “street of memories.” In this street, tourists can see the scene of a common Korean street in the late 1900s and feel like they have traveled through time. It will be a great experience whether tourists have experienced that period or not.

Royal Guard-changing Ceremony
Comic Book Rental Shop
Street of Memories

3. Learning Korean History at National Museums

If there is enough time, it is also recommended to look around the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum of Korea. There is no additional fee for both museums, and the opening hours are the same as those of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The National Palace Museum is located on the left side of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The exhibitions are divided into a permanent exhibition and a special exhibition. In the museum, the permanent exhibition shows three aspects of Joseon: kings, palaces, and the royal family. The National Folk Museum of Korea is located on the right side of Gyeongbokgung Palace, which is also divided into a permanent exhibition for the three concepts of a day, a year, and a lifetime of Koreans and a special exhibition. The concepts of special exhibitions in both museums depend on the month.

Gift Shop
National Palace Museum

National Folk Museum0

Every Book Is Fun Except for Textbooks!

Introduction to Seochon

Seochon, which literally means the west side village of Gyeongbokgung Palace, is located about eight minutes away from the entrance of the palace. There are Hanok Village and old alleys together, which makes people feel like they are traveling into the past from the Joseon Dynasty to the modern era. The most attractive point in Seochon is that many bookstores with their own unique atmospheres are all in one street. This is because the house of Lee Sang, a famous poet in Korea in the modern era, remains in Seochon. These bookstores play an important role in forming a unique vibe in Seochon, so the SKT would like to introduce three famous bookstores.

Hanok in Seochon
Street of Seochon

Three Representative Bookstores

1. The Book Society

The Book Society is an independent bookstore, which is located on the second floor of a red brick building. It sells various items, including books, posters, and illustrations. This bookstore was established as a project space as well as a bookstore, publishing domestic and foreign books related to contemporary art and designs. Most of the books are foreign books, giving new experiences to people. Therefore, books are more expensive than others in common bookstores, but it is worth buying them anyway. Its opening hours are from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., and it closes on Mondays.

Foreign Books
The Book Society

2. History Book

History Book exists on the same street as The Book Society, and it feels like the medium between a large bookstore and an independent bookstore. Displayed books reflect the taste of the owner and are free to read. The owner opened this bookstore in order to create a place where everyone could have fun and talk about history. There are several tables and chairs inside the bookstore, so people can sit and read comfortably. It sells drinks, tea, and wine. You can drink them while reading a book. In particular, the experience of drinking tea while reading a book gives people relaxation in everyday life. Its opening hours are from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

History Book

Tea Time with Books

3. Boan Books

Boan Books started as a guest house in 1942, but it has been operating as an art space for selling books since 2007. There are art exhibitions on the first basement floor, a cafe on the first floor, and a bookstore on the second floor in the building. Boan Books has the atmosphere of an independent bookstore because, with unfamiliar books, the interior is sensuously decorated with cute props. Also, there is an adorable puppy named Yeondu in the bookstore on the second floor. With all these elements, people can read a book while enjoying the warm sunlight coming in through the glass window. Its opening hours are from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., and it closes on Mondays.

Exhibition of Books

Boan Books

양희태  yht0648@g.skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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