Posted by: rbbadger | November 3, 2008

East meets West

After the ousting of Heungseon Daewongun, father of King Gojong (later Emperor Gojong), the king and queen embarked on a programme of modernisation.  In Changdeokgung Palace, electric lighting and western furniture was placed in some of the buildings.  In Deoksugung Palace, some of the buildings had western trim attached.  And the last palace building ever built during the Joseon Dynasty was constructed.

Here’s some western-style trim attached to one of the buildings.

And of course, where would we be without chandeliers?  During this time, the first electric company in Korea was founded.

In 1896, following the assasination of the Empress Myeongsong by Japanese assasins, King Gojong fled to the Russian Embassy.  During his time in hiding there, the king developed a profound liking for coffee.  When he finally left to the legation, he commissioned a Russian architect to build a pavilion for him where he could listen to music and drink coffee.  How modern of him!  Korea is a country which has a long, long tea tradition and its green tea is some of the finest in the world.  However, coffee has become quite popular and coffee vending machines are literally everywhere.  (Of course, it goes without saying that you can get green tea from them as well.)

Finally, this building was built right towards the end of the Joseon Dynasty.  It marks the final palace building ever built during the long, long Joseon dynasty.  Built in an agressively neo-classic style, it seems quite out of place with its surroundings.  But it does have one important that I long for here in Korea.  It has a lawn!  The palaces traditionally do not have lawns.  There are stone walkways and on either side of the walkways is just bare earth. 

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Responses

  1. hooray for lawns! their buildings are so ornate. wow. thanks for the other postcard, by the way! always fun to have something in the mail. 🙂 i’m so sad you didn’t have your camera on halloween! would’ve loved to see a korean witch or warlock, prince or princess. 😀


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