After already taking in Cheongwadae and Gyeongbokgung, our last stop of the day prior to observing the pillow fight event at Seoul Plaza City Hall was Deoksugung.

According to the literature provided, Deoksugung looks nothing like it did in the past. The main reason being that it was once 3 times the current size. But the palace grounds have also changed with the times due to what they were being utilized for. It served as the main palace for the Han Empire as well as the temporary palace and residence of King Seonjo and King Gwanghaegun. It was destroyed during Japanese invasions and rebuilt. It was once redeveloped as a public park. Daehanmun, currently the main entrance gate, was isolated in the middle of Taepyeong-no street in the 60’s when the street was expanded. The gate was placed in its current location in 1971. Because of the numerous alterations, Deoksugung’s original form is nearly impossible to distinguish.

Currently, I consider it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Seoul. It’s centrally located and the 1,000 won entrance fee is super cheap. On the day we were there, most people seemed to be utilizing the palace grounds as a park, rather than a sight seeing destination. We did too, especially enjoying the wooded areas that were home to young, colored blossoming buds and green vegetation, a sure indication that Spring has arrived.

Something I found unique among most ancient palace or temple sites that I have visited were the two Western-style stone buildings found on the far end. Seokjojeon housed Emporer Gojong’s sleeping quarters and audience hall when it was constructed in 1910. This neoclassical building was part of the Great Han Empire’s push to modernize. And an annex of the National Museum of Contemporary Art also occupies space in the Seokjojeon vicinity.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on April 9, 2010.

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