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Celebrate Lunar New Year holiday at Jongno-gu by enjoying free entrance to royal palaces
Updated: 2020-01-24 12:17:58 KST

One of the perks of being in Seoul during the quiet holiday is that you can visit the city's many royal palaces for free.

Here, Gyeongbokgung Palace, is one of the five palaces of the Joseon Dynasty and the biggest among them.
From Friday to Monday, it opens its gates to visitors to wander around the grand, ancient Korean architecture that used to be the home of Kings.
For locals, it is a chance to visit the historical site during the traditional holiday.
But many foreign tourists also come here during this time for a unique, exotic experience that cannot be had anywhere else in the city.

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"I feel really in awe, because I really love historical drama so when I see palace and everything, it really makes me feel like how it looked like in the old days."
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"It's very intricate, it's much more detailed, and very much more thoughtful design, compare to what anything that I am used to."

The palace has also prepared a special event on the actual day of Seollal which falls on Saturday, and it will hand out copies of traditional paintings that the Korean ancestors exchanged in hopes of bringing good fortune.

Other palaces in the city offer similar events along with free entrance.
If you want to try out Korean folk games like Seollal's iconic board game called Yutnoli and Jegichagi -- which is like hacky sack, visit Deoksugung Palace.
And Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung palaces will also offer the outstanding ornamentation and atmosphere that have been preserved in their entirety since the15th century.


Also at the center of downtown Seoul is the royal shrine Jongmyo.
The simple yet divine and serene Jongmyo Shrine was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 for its historic and artistic value.
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"Normally you have to make a reservation at least three days before you visit here, and tours are limited to roughly one per hour. But during the holiday, Jongmyo shrine will be open throughout the day and will be free of charge."

If you want to feel more holiday spirit and learn about 2020, the year of the rat, visit a special exhibition in the National Folk Museum of Korea. Here, everything from traditional painting, proverbs and games featuring rats are displayed to help people understand how the rat represents fertility and prosperity.

The good thing is, you can experience all of these events in one neighborhood by making a trip to the Jongno-gu District.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.
Reporter : kelee@arirang.com