Korea: From Palace to Marketplace

November 17, 2009 Updated: May 17, 2010

Once home to Korea's emperors, the Deoksugung palace rests in the heart of Seoul, South Korea. The palace is one of the five palaces from Korea's final dynasty, the Joseon Dynasty, which lasted from 1392 to 1910. It survived two wars, one in the 16th century and one in the 19th century.

Still maintaining its ancient elegance and surrounded by forested gardens, its walls whisper tales from ages past. At night, lights illuminate it in all its colorful splendor. Intricate designs, still preserved, are testament to the care taken in its construction.

Insa-dong was once the largest market in Korea for the trade of artwork. Now the antique district of Seoul, Insa-dong is one of the city's cultural jewels.

Stretching along the main street and branching into side alleys are throngs of art galleries, shops, traditional-style structures, tea houses, and sellers of antiques and handcrafts alike. On the weekends it is closed to vehicle traffic and is a favorite spot for tourists.