Visiting a temple complex is a pretty easy way to knock down a bunch of the numbered list of Korean National Treasures, plus fold in a few superlatives and singularities to boot.

For instance, we went to the Deoksugung Palace yesterday, a good day to go since it was Opening of Heaven Day. We missed the pilgrimage to shamanistic sites from Gyeongbokgung, but had a good time at Deoksugung before the heavens actually did open up and it started pouring.

Deoksugung was the home of Prince Wolsan, King Seongjong's brother. Seongjong is the king you hear about most since he invented hangul. This palace complex has been in use in the 1590s. There are some other buildings in the complex as well, and much of it burned in 1904 (maybe by the Japanese?) and other functions as well, including one building from circa 1909 that was the home of the US-USSR Joint Commission for a time. All of thisd gives you an idea of the age of the place, as well as some idea of the overlapping sovereignties that occurred here.

On the way we saw the oldest water clock in the world

and, my favorite, "the oldest weapon in the world for which there is still a blueprint that was made when the weapon was constructed."

Once you can start listing the uniqueness of things with that level of precision, there really is no end.


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