Changdeokgung Palace Complex Jongno-gu Reviews
Joseon Dynasty Palace Apr 05, 2008
Changdeokgung Palace is the second royal villa built after Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It is said to be the best preserved of the five royal Joseon palaces. Emperor T'aejong ordered the construction of the new palace, which was built in a garden adapted to fit the uneven topography which resulted in an amazing example of Far East palace architecture and design, blending seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
Changdeokgung served as the main building after the 9th king of Joseoun, Seongjong, when a number of kings used this as a place of dwelling. Like the other palaces, this one was burnt down during the Japanese invasion in 1592. Restoration efforts brought this palace back to life in 1611.
Today there are 13 buildings remaining on the palace grounds and 28 pavilions in the gardens, occupying 110 acres and designated as Historical Site No. 122. Changdeokgung was the site of the royal court and seat of the government until 1872, when neighboring Gyeongbokgung was rebuilt. Korea's last emporer, Sunjong, lived here until his death in 1926.
Some highlights of the palace tour:
-Donhwamun Gate - main gate built in 1412, the oldest of the gates still standing
- Geumcheongyo Bridge - oldest bridge still in Seoul, built in 1411
- Injeongjeon Hall (National Treasure) - throne hall built in 1405, destroyed in Imjin Wars, restored in 1609, destroyed by fire in 1803; current structure is from 1804
- Seongjeongjeon Hall - office for ruling officials. Originally built in 1461, destroyed in Imjin Wars, restored 1647.
- Heuijeongdang Hall - originally a royal bedchamber, later used as offices. Original building destroyed in 1917, rebuilt in 1920.
- Daejojeon Hall - official residence of the queen. Destroyed in 1917, rebuilt in 1920.
Behind the palace is the Huwon (rear garden) originally constructed for the use of the royal family and palace. It incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and beautifully landscaped laws, trees, and flowers.
No self-guided tours are allowed here, except on Thursdays which cost 15,000 won. Other times, tours are accompanied only, with guides who speak several languages. Tickets for the guided tours are 3,000 won. Note, they are closed on Mondays.
Because of it's exemplary display of Far East palace architecture and garden design, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997. It was felt that this is an exceptional display because of the integration of the buildings into and harmonized with the natural setting, adapting to the topography while retaining indigenous tree cover.
Although not the setting for any James Bond films that I can add to my list, portions of the palace were used to film a Korean Drama, Dae Jang Geum in the 2000's.
Part of the Seoul Searching...Birthday Weekend in Korea (Apr 08) travel blog
Part of the list UNESCO Sites
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