Seoul Travel Blog› entry 3 of 10 › view all entries
Changyeonggung was the first palace stop on our Seoul tour. Self-guided tours are welcome within the palace grounds but we probably would've been better off with an organized group as we spent probably twice as much time, which put us pretty far behind schedule. LOL.
Changyeonggung was originally called Suganggung and built by King Sejong in 1418 for his father, King Taejong, who had abdicated the throne for his successor. King Seongjong enlarged the grounds and changed it to its present day name. As with other palaces, the grounds were destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion in 1592. After being rebuilt in 1616, many of its buildings were destroyed by fire again in 1830, only to be reconstructed a few years later once again.
During the Japanese rule, they built a zoo, botanical garden, a museum in the palace, and renamed it Changyeongwon, which downgraded it from a palace to a botanical garden.
Honghwamun was built in 1484. As with the rest of the palace, it was destroyed in the fires and rebuilt around 1616. It is the main gate of Changgyeonggung.
It is revered for its elegant curved roofs with upturned eaves, an excellent preservation of the 17th century wooden architecture. It is still considered simple for a palace gate, and therefore a pair of Sipjagak pavilions were built on either side to uphold the standards of a typical palace gate.
Honghwamun was where the king would receive ordinary people and military examinations were held just outside the gate itself.
All Joseon palaces are approached by crossing the stone bridge over a stream. It was built in 1483, during the reign of King Seonjong. The bridge is supported by two arches with a carving of a monster mask between the two to ward off evil spirits.
Originally, this area had rice patties called Gwonnongjang. In 1909, the Japanese created a Japanese style pond. In 1986, during reconstruction efforts, the pond was recreated in a Korean style, adding an island in the center.
This area is actually separated into two ponds, the larger one being where the rice patties originally were.
This was one of our first stops on the tour and I had trouble leaving this area.
The Botanical Garden
This was completed in 1909 and was the tallest and largest wood-framed garden in Korea at the time displaying a collection of rare plants, including tropical ones. Currently, the garden exhibits plants indigenous to Korea.
Taeshil and Stele (Placenta Birth Markers)
The taeshil is a stone container that holds the placenta of a prince. Taesil are shrines of varying sizes where the royal family and upper-class households stored the placentas and umbilical cords of their children.
A taesilbi is a stone monument inscribed with a story about the placenta. They are found at auspicious locations throughout the country. The taesil of King Seongjong was originally built in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province.
Around 1928, most taesil of the royal family of Joseon were moved to the Seosamneug Tomb in Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, in an effort to manage them more effectively. The taesil of King Seongjong was moved to this location for further research because it is the best preserved of all royal taesil.
The Punggidae is a wind streamer, believed to be erected in 1732, during the 8th year of King Yeoungjo's reign.
It has a hole on top in which a pole with a long and narrow flag could be fitted, which measures the wind direction and force.
Situated above the palace grounds, this site commands the most beautiful view back into the palace grounds.
Pine trees now cover where Jagyeongjeon was the residence of the queen mother with a beautiful terraced rear garden.
King Jeongjo built Jagyeongjeon in 1777 for his mother, Lady Hyegyeonggung, on this site in view of the Gyeongmogung Shrine to Prince Sado, his father.
Lady Hyegyeonggung wrote Hanjungrok (Memoirs) in Jagyeongjeon, which was removed in 19th century.
During the Japanese invasion, they built Jangseogak, a modern royal library, was built here.
Tongmyeongjeon was used as the queen's quarters and a banquet hall. As with other palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, the queen's quarters are most easily identified by the absence of a ridge on the roof.
This building has been burnt down several times since it's construction in 1484 during the reign of King Seongjong and rebuilt for the last time in 1834 by King Sunjo.
Tongmyeongjeon has a wide elevated stone terrace called a woldae. Originally, only the center section of the three kan was wood floored and an ondol (headed floor) was at either side of the center hall.
The courtyard to the west is a garden with a round well and square pond and the waterway in between was painstakingly crafted from stone.
The pond is lined with long square stones and sculpted stone rails. There are two stones in the pond and a lotus-shaped stand as well.
Built in 1484 during the reign of King Seongjong, this was a royal residence which was also destroyed in the Japanese invasion of Korea in the late 1500's.
After being rebuilt by King Gwanghaegun in 1616, it was burnt down again in 1624, during the second year reign of King Injo, during the revolt of Lee Gwal.
It was rebuilt shortly after the revolt but suffered another fire in 1830, being rebuilt again in 1833.
After the last rebuild, Yanghwadang was the residential quarters of the queen mother, but King Injo lived here when he returned from refuge at Namhansangseong Fortress during the Manchu invasion of 1636.
Gyeongchunjeon and Hwangyeongieon (Halls)
Built in 1483, it was destroyed in the Japanese invasion, rebuilt in 1616, burnt down in 1830, and rebuilt in 1834, King Jeongjo and King Heonjong were born here.
The Chinese characteres, over the center, were written by King Sunjo.
There are verandas in the front and rear.
The royal residence first built in 1484 during the reign of King Seongjong was burnt down during the Japanese invasion and rebuilt in 1616, during the reign of King Gwanghaegun.
It was burnt again by a fire in 1830 and rebuilt for the last time in 1834.
Hwangyeonjeon features simple graceful double-wing brackets atop the columns. The eaves are two-tiered. The floor is wooden, and the beams are crossed between the inner and outer columns.
Roof rafters are exposed between the outer and inner columns, while the ceiling is latticed.
Erected in 1484 during the reign of King Seongjong, this was also burnt down in 1592 and rebuilt in 1616.
Myeongjeongjeon features a throne, with a folding screen of the sun and moon behind it and a wooden canopy above it. The ceiling is recessed and decorated with Bonghwang phoenix, which was the symbol of immortality and nobility. Lotus designs were painted in Dancheong coloring on the ceiling.
A paved path leads to the throne hall from Myeongjeonmun gate. There is a center portion which is raised, allowing travel for kings only. Subjects followed the king on the lower sides of the path.
A pair of Bongwang phoenixes is engraved inside heart-shaped outlines on the rises of the center stairs. Stairs are engraved with arabesque, cloud, and Bosanghwa floral designs. Also present is Haetae, the fire-eating legendary animal that offers protection from fire itself.
While we were there, they were doing some type of ceremony reenactment but I couldn't find out what since no one spoke English. All the pictures I have from this hall and plaza are during the ceremony which I believe may be some type of funeral given casket like box that was carried out in the processional at first.
The Sungmundang was built in 1830, the 30th year of King Sunjo, to replace the one that was earlier destroyed by fire in the same year.
The inside of the building consists of the central wooden floor and two rooms, on either side of the wooden floor. The signboard and plaque were written by King Yeongjo, who was a great promoter of scholarship and learning. He used to receive and test university students here, and often held celebrations here in their honor.
The Munjeongjeon (Hall)
The present day building was completed in 1986 as a part of the reconstruction project of Changgyonggung palace based on the finding of the excavation and various written records.
It was confirmed through excavation in 1984 that the original building stood on a base 20m north to south and 18m west to east and the base had two stairs in the east and west sides.
The original Munjeongjeon was built in 1484 by King Seongjong and burnt down in 1592, to be rebuilt in 1616. The Joseonchongdokbu, Vol X, published by the Japanese government-general in 1930, showed the east side of Munjeongjon, the building must have survived until that year.