Korea

 

Old Meets New

     Seoul is very modern but still remembers its past. Traditional temples are scattered throughout the city in beautiful little parks.

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Christmas Seoul

     Walking home from dinner I passed this pretty alley well decorated for the Christmas season.

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History Preserved

     Another peaceful escape from Seoul's hustle and bustle.

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Palace Grounds

     This is the site of Gyeongbokgung palace. It bacame the home of Korean kings in the early 1400's. In the 1500's Japanese invaders burnt the palace to the ground. Rebuilt by another king in the 1800's his wife, the queen, was later assasinated here by Japanese asailants. Today the grounds are a tourist attraction and site of two museums.

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Korean Temple

     A close-up of Gyeongbokgung.

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Asian Beauty

     This is the beautiful Gyeonghoeru pavilion located on the palace grounds.

Original: 8 megapixel Digital Raw File


Peaceful Reflection

     Also on the palace grounds, Hyangwonjeong island pavilion.

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War

     Korea is divided by a strip of no man's land 4 km's wide and 248 km's long. It runs east to west across the country and is known as the De-Militarized Zone or DMZ. There are three exceptions to this no man's land and this picture is of one of them. This is the UN truce village known as Panmunjeom and it is the location for ongoing peace talks between the north and the south. Looking into North Korea, a strip of cement between the two blue buildings marks the border. Anyone crossing it would most likely bring about gunfire.

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Country Divided

     South Korean soldiers stand guard using a taekwondo stance keeping one eye on the north at all times.

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Enemies

     These men are still at war with each other.  Panmunjeom is a very serious place and on rare occasions in the last few decades shots have been fired and soldiers have been killed.

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ROK Soldier

     South Korea's official name is the Republic of Korea.  Their military troops are known as  ROK soldiers.  This photo was taken inside one of the blue buildings that straddle the border.  This soldier and I are technically standing on the north side of the border and he is guarding the "doorway to the north" just behind his left shoulder.

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Guarding the North

     Notice how poorly this soldier's uniform fits.  It is an indication of North Korea's economic troubles.

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Ghost Town

     This North Korean village, Gijong, and  another small village in South Korea, Daesong, are the only other exceptions to people inhabiting the DMZ.  These villages are restricted to local residents only and tourists are strictly forbidden.  The ironic thing about Gijong is that no one actually lives there.  The town was built by North Korea for propaganda purposes.  Within the town are massive loudspeakers that broadcast into Daesong describing how great a place the north is to live.  The tower is a giant flag pole standing 525 feet high and the massive flag it holds weighs more than 600 pounds.

Original: 8 megapixel Digital Raw File

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