"Seoul?s Royal Palaces: practicalities - Part II" Changdeokgung Palace Tip by mke1963
Changdeokgung Palace, Seoul: 34 reviews and 92 photos
My favourite of the palaces must be the neighbouring Changgyeonggung, with the largely unknown Umhyeongung - also nearby - a close second. The formerly massive Gyeongbokgung has lost much of its atmosphere through the demolition of so many buildings by the Japanese.
Each of the palaces has its merits and visiting any one of them (except Gyeonghuigung, of which virtually nothing is left) will give a good feel for the architecture and royal life of the Joseon dynasty.
For sheer romance and style, and a good walk through a beautiful park (and the Jongmyo royal shrines), Changgyeonggung would be the best choice.
For intimacy and a feel for court life and palace architecture and customs, head for Umhyeongung.
For the feel-good factor from visiting the primary royal palace, but also for some stunning architecture (and the excellent adjacent National Folk Museum), go to Gyeongbokgung, but make sure you see the changing of the royal guard.
For arguably the best single piece of Joseon architecture, go to Gyeonghuigung to see the Heunghwamun, although it is now positioned totally out of context and the presence of nearby skyscrapers has almost destroyed the impact: surely it would be better to place it back in line further up the slope? Also the park, and the rather forlorn palace building gives cause for reflection on the legacy of the Japanese occupation.
For grandeur, and for some beautiful garden scenes - even if they are rushed - head for Changdeokgung and its secret garden.
Address: 99 Yulgok-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Phone: +82 2-762-8261
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