King Injo (r 1623–1649)

I have now visited three places where Joseon dynasty scholar-official Song Si-yeol has made his mark. In none of the places did I register the connection until after returning to London; in two of the places I never got to see the mark he left (there wasn’t enough time on the schedule) and in the […]

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2016 travel diary 7: Gongju’s fortress

by Philip Gowman 16 May 2016
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Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do, 16 May 2016, 3pm. Not far away from Songsan-ri is the fortress of Gongsanseong. It clings to the banks of the Geumgang river (nothing to do with Mount Geumgang in north Gangwondo) and its walls scale the cliffs and meander along the contours of the hill, forming a 2.6km circuit which climbs to […]

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2015 Travel Diary day 10: Namhansanseong and the Gangnam Tombs

by Philip Gowman 7 June 2015
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Myeongdong, Seoul, Sunday 7 June The Mountain Fortress I am scheduled to meet a friend at 9:30 at Sanseong Station on Line 8. From there we take the bus (number 9) via a circuitous route through a residential area and up the steep hill to the main car park of one of Korea’s latest UNESCO […]

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Arrow, the Ultimate Weapon – the historical background

by Philip Gowman 29 September 2011
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Kim Han-min’s Arrow the Ultimate Weapon is a high-energy historical action flick which will get the London Korean Film Festival 2011 off to a rip-roaring start. Without revealing too much about the plot, suffice it to say that enough baddies get what they deserve to make you feel reasonably good on emerging from the cinema. […]

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2011 Travel Diary day 2: the Changdeokgung and Biwon

by Philip Gowman 1 May 2011
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Seoul, Sunday 1 May 2011. In previous years I had been foiled in my attempts to get to see the famous Secret Garden behind the UNESCO-listed Changdeok Palace. Either there were building works going on, or access was only via guided tour and I had missed my slot, or some other obstacle was put in […]

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