“It’s 10am when the drum beat starts. The heavy thud-thud-thud of anticipation. The crowd falls silent – even the breeze drops to a whisper – as the relief guards appear at the gate. Resplendent in uniforms of crimson and cornflower, holding colorful banners aloft and accompanied by a cacophony of bugles and conch shells, they slow-step in synchronicity across the palace courtyard towards the on-duty sentries.
The Changing of the Guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of Seoul’s oldest traditions. This display of military might first took place in 1469 and today guards are changed six times a day, on the hour, in a festival of color where ceremonial costumes, instruments and weapons whirl past in all directions. A rare and welcome celebration of prestigious past in a city – and country – preoccupied with the future…”