Main Attraction

Changdeokgung Palace

One of the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), was constructed in 1405, as an auxiliary palace. In contrast to Gyeongbokgung, the main palace, the complex``s layout is free from symmetrical *or* lineal arrangement of structures and instead is designed in accordance with the surrounding topography. Notably a hill and two flat areas to both sides of it were taken into consideration when determining the layout of the main gate, main hall and inner hall. Since the Three Kingdoms period construction techniques accounted for terrain features. The builders of Changdeokgung, fully employing the ancient techniques, created a structure which is uniquely Korean in terms of design.Changdeokgung has undergone a number of repairs and reconstructions due to fire, yet it was never reduced in size. Of the three palaces that burnt down during the Hideyoshi invasions of 1592-1598, it was the first to be restored--beginning in 1606--and thus served as the main palace for almost 270 years. Built from the mid-Joseon to the modern period, the buildings within the complex demonstrate the styles of different periods. The oldest structure in the complex is Donhwamun Gate. Other ancient buildings include Injeong-jeon (used for congratulatory ceremonies and the reception of foreign envoys), Seonjeongjeon (used to discuss national affairs) and Daejojeon (the queen``s residence). In addition, the back garden (Huwon) served as a recreational area for Joseon kings. It is a fine example of ancient Korean landscaping with a lotus pond, trees--some now over 300 years old--and a pavilion all arranged in harmony with the natural surroundings. Changdeokgung makes an invaluable contribution to our understa


Juche Tower

The Juche Tower (officially the Tower of Juche Idea) is a monument in Pyongyang, North Korea. Completed in 1982, it is sited on the eastern bank of the River Taedong, directly opposite Kim Il Sung Square which is situated on the other side of the river. It was made to commemorate Kim Il Sung's 70th birthday. Kim Jong-il is officially credited as the tower's designer,however interviews with former North Korean officials contradict this assertionThe 170 metre (560') structure is a four sided tapering 150 metre spire (the tallest one in granite) containing 25,550 blocks (365 × 70, one for each day of Kim Il Sung's life, excluding supplementary days), dressed in white stone with seventy dividers and capped with a 20 metre high, 45 ton, illuminated metal torch. It is possible to ascend the tower. It is presumed to be modeled on the Washington Monument, which it surpasses in height by less than a metre.Associated with the tower is a 30 metre high statue consisting of three figures—one with a hammer, one with a sickle and one with a writing brush (an idealised worker, a peasant and a "working intellectual"). There are six smaller groups, each 10 metres high, symbolizing other aspects of Kim Il Sung's ideology. Also close to the tower is a wall of 82 friendship plaques, apparently from foreign supporters. Around the tower there are also pavilions and water features. It is claimed that the tower has become a popular site for North Koreans.

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