Palaces in SEOUL (Part 2)

Today I would like to introduce you more to my observations regarding the “Palace Tour” that I have been doing for the past couple of weeks. Last time I told you more about the Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) that is by far the largest and most popular palace in Seoul. However, not far from this architectural phenomenon is another building that lies under the category of “Five Grand Palaces of Seoul”, called the Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁).

If Gyeongbokgung Palace is often said to be the Northern Palace due to its location, then Changdeokgung Palace is called the East Palace not because it is on the eastern side of Seoul, but because it is located east from the Bukchon Hanok Village (북촌한옥마을) and also Gyeongbokgung Palace. If you still have not been to the traditional hanok village and if you have not visited Gyeongbokgung, then you should finally do it. All of these culturally stunning places are located almost at the same place and is definitely a big advantage just to devote a whole day to this great tour without spending half of the day understanding the subway map.

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Changdeokgung Palace was built by the leaders and kings of Joseon Dynasty that ruled in Korea from approximately 1390s until 1900s. It is said that this palace was actually the most favourite palace of numerous Joseon high ranking officials, including princes and princesses, kings and queens. The palace has recollected several features dating from the Three Kingdoms of Korea period that were not incorporated in the more modern Gyeongbokgung Palace. The palace is also the best preserved of the “Five Grand Palaces of Seoul”, so if you want to see how the life in the 15th century was, you definitely should spare your time and visit this unique place.

For example, the various buildings of Changdeokgung Palace have been able to merge with the regular landscape of the site, instead of imposing themselves upon it. If Gyeongbokgung Palace feels like it contrasts from its surroundings, then when you visit the Changdeokgung Palace you feel like the palace is meant to be there. It can be described as a feeling of somehow traveling back in time and experiencing the unique culture and traditions of Joseon Dynasty yourself. Due to this astonishing fact Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The UNESCO committee describing the site stated that the place was an “outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design” being exceptional because the buildings are “integrated into and harmonized with the natural setting” and adapted “to the topography and retaining indigenous tree cover.”

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The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden that has countless fountains and pavilions that seem to be time untouched. The rear garden is not only known for its fountains, but also for the 300 year-old gigantic tree that is to symbolize the resting place for the kings. Next to the tree is also a pond that reflects the strength and power of the Joseon Dynasty leaders. Many Koreans believe that the best time to visit Changdeokgung Palace is during the fall season as leaves of the old tree tend to have numerous colours. It is considered to be one of the most favourite tourist attractions during the fall season giving an opportunity to take a lot of romantic photos and experiencing Seoul’s beauty at the finest.

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If you think that this is the place worth visiting then I would suggest you to take Subway Line 3, go to the Anguk Station (안국역) and take exit 3. You will need to walk for about 300 metres until you reach the palace.


Article by Zanda from the U.K.


  1. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous. What a wonderful experience that must have been!

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