The kraton, or palace, of Yogyakarta is an interesting site as it hearkens to both pre-colonial and Dutch colonial Indonesia. The center of the Yogyakarta Sultanate, it has been a center of regional power since 1755 with the current building having existed since 1790. Today, the Special Region of Yogyakarta, a sort of autonmous territory which includes the city, is ruled by the Sultan, Hamengkubuwono X.
During our tour, which cost 15,000 rupiah (about 1 USD) with an English-speaking tour guide, we were guided through the palace grounds and given chances to take photos.
Above: a palace guard dressed in traditional attire poses.
Above: the official seal of the monarchy.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here, but I’ll hopefully be getting the camera out again as I’m back in Taiwan. I recently went through Beijing and was “stuck” with a 24-hour layover. This allowed my wife and I to explore some of the city through the subway. We only spent a few hours really exploring as we were a bit jet lagged after a 13-hour flight. Shots below.
Above: Tienanmen, translated as the “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” the iconic red central building at the heart of Tienanmen Square.
The Imperial Ancestral Temple in the Forbidden City (above and below).
Above: Tiananmen Square from across the street near the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Visible is the “Monument to the People’s Heroes,” (foreground) and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
Above and below: more street scenes around a large market/shopping district. Near Donghuamen and Wanfujing.
Changdeokgung (창덕궁) Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the five grand palaces, along with Gyeongbokgung (경복궁), which I posted about earlier. Both were landmarks of the long-lasting Joseon (조선) Dynasty, which lasted from 1392-1897.
Changdeokgung is known not only for its castles, but its royal gardens. While we did not get to see these due to time constraints, the palace complex is huge in and of itself, and it was apparently more preferred to some kings over the main palace, Gyeongbokgung.
Above: notice the intricate detail of the painting as well as the net installed to keep birds out.
Above: a marker in the central courtyard marks where officials would line up for court meetings. This official is ranked #9 (九).
Moving to a different part of Korean history, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a major historical site and tourist attraction dating originally to 1395, but rebuilt as recently as the 1990′s due to war and its symbol for Korean pride even in the midst of Japanese occupation.
Part of a visit is a changing of the guard to the palace gates, where costumed soldiers march in to the area. This gave a perfect beginning to the visit.
Above: this symbol, seen on a ceremonial drum, is a variant on the Taegeuk, or 태극, an ancient symbol which appears on the national Korean flag in a two-color form. The example above is three-colored, so its known as the “삼색의 태극,” or “Samsaeg-ui Taeguek.” Yellow represents humanity, while red and blue refer to heaven and earth.