Changgyeonggung Palace, Seoul
Changgyeonggung (창경궁) was originally built in 1483, destroyed in 1592 during the Japanese occupation, then rebuilt in 1616. It typically housed former kings and princes. Many of the main buildings in the center of the palace were rebuilt as recently as the 1980s.
Honghwamun is the main gate which faces east. Beyond this gate is the Okcheongyo bridge, a second gate called Myeongjeongmun, then the palace's main hall, Myeongjeongjeon. To the north of the palace is an area I failed to visit: the Chundangji pond with its greenhouse and pavilion. This palace also houses an observatory.
This palace has two features making it unique from the others in Seoul: the main gates face east instead of south, and the palace grounds are very hilly and rocky. This tranquil palace is a long hike from either Anguk Station (Line 3) or Hyehwa Station (Line 4).
Admission is about 1,000 Won for adults. Jongmyo (종묘) is located across a walking bridge from Changgyeongung. Paying the entrance fee to one allows you free access the other if you use this bridge. It is also located right beside an even better palace, Changdeokgung with its Secret Garden.
Changgyeonggung Palace was the third palace compound built in 1483 by King Seongjong.
the size of the palace is compact and simple, and similar to Changdeokgung Palace.
Changgyeonggung Palace is one of the " eastern Palace ".
April - October: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Dec - February: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
November & March: 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Holiday : Every Monday.
English 11 a.m., 4 p.m.
Japanese 10 a.m., 2 p.m.
Chinese 1 p.m., 3 p.m.
This palace was built in 1483. It was destroyed by Japanese. But more terrible than this, it was unfortunately transformed into a zoo. Later the remaining buildings were restored and open to public. Besides the buildings, there are also a pond, a park and a glasshouse which are great for photography. The admission fee is 1000 W and the ticket also allows you to enter Jongmyo shrine. It is closed on Tuesdays.
Built originally as a Goryeo dynasty palace in the 1100's, this was used by the Joseon dynasty while Gyeongbok gung was built. It has been hit with numerous fires through the years such that none of the originally built buildings are left from that era. The buildings here are modest compared to the other palaces of Seoul. It has extensive grounds with a pond, garden and a botanical building.
For an insight into Korean history, it is hard to resist Gyeongbok Palace. Founded in 1394 by King Taejo, this was the base of the Joseon Dynasty. (the last Dynasty of Korea). This impressive palace has traditionally designed Korean buildings, majestic towers and a lake with a stone bridge. Apart from its unique history, the palace is a perfect place to relax, featuring an interesting mix of greenery combined with beautiful architecture.Unfortunately it was agloomy day with a lot of light drizzle during our visit so i could not capture great photos.
Of All the Palaces in Seoul, this has A "Secret" Garden (Biwon) and it the Only Palace Designated as A World Heritage Area by Unesco. Changdeok Palace literally means “Palace of Prospering Virtue”. According to the tour Guide, Changdeok Palace was built in 1405 as a secondary palace for the Korean Chosun Dynasty King with Kyeongbok Palace serving as the primary palace for the Korean royalty. Built by King Taejong, Changdok is the best preserved of all of Seoul's palaces. It has its own unique architectural beauty and is divided into four main components: Central Palace, Biwon (known as the secret garden), Naksonjae, and Sonwonjon HallDuring the Hideyoshi invasion of Korea in 1592, Kyeongbok Palace was destroyed and after the war it was not rebuilt and Changdeok Palace became the primary residence of the royal family and also, Korea’s last emperor Sunjong passed away on these grounds in 1926.
Opens : 09:00 ~ 18:00 (march to October); 09:00 to 17:00 (November to February)
English Language Tour is from January ~ December (3 times a day)
11:30 am, 13:30 pm, 15:30 pm
Division 6 or under and 65 or more 7~18 years 19~64 years
foreigner free 1,500 3,000 won
special free 5,000 5,000 won
Changdeokung Palace was completed in 1412. In 1463, King Sejo expanded it and created Biwon (secret) Garden. The Japanese burned all the buildings during 1592. Although rebuilt, many of the buildings have burned and been rebuilt several times. Thirteen of Korea's kings lived here for a total of over 270 years. The palace grounds cover over 110 acres. Thirteen of the original buildings remain, with an additional 28 in Biwon Garden.
To visit the palace, you should at least reserve half a day and wear good footwear, as the walk is long (and very hot, sometimes !)
Following opening-times apply:
Feb. - 09:15 ~ 15:45 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Mar. - 09:15 ~ 16:45 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Apr. ~ Oct. - 09:15 ~ 17:15 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Nov. - 09:15 ~ 15:45 Enter every 15 and 45 minutes past the hour.
Dec. ~ Jan. - 09:45 ~ 15:45 Enter every 45 minutes past the hour.
* The last entrance time varies according to sunset time.
Suganggung was built by the 4th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong for his retiring father, King Taejong, and was often used as residential quarters for queen and concubines. During the reign of King Seongjong, the palace was renovated and renamed Changgyeonggung. This palace is unique in that its front gate and the throne hall face east while those in all the other palaces face south. Close on Tuesday.
Changgyeongung (Changyeong Palace) was originally built in the fifteenth century for the father of King Sojang and was then used by dowager queens. The original throne hall, built in 1616, still stands. During the Japanese colonial period, the palace's extensive grounds housed the city zoo, which was seen as an insult to the Korean royal family. Today there is a botanical garden in a beautiful glasshouse.
Opening hours: March-October 09.00-18.00
Admission 1,000 won
The oldest of all palaces was built in 1104 and served as the king's summer residence.
It was destroyed during the Japanese invasion in 1592 but later restored.
Open daily except Tuesday.
Admission: 700.- KRW
This is the best preserved of the five Joseon dynasty palaces and easily my favorite. Changgyeonggung Palace was originally a Goryeo dynasty summer palace built in 1104.
During the Japanese occupation the the palace was changed into a park. They built a zoo, a botanical garden, and the royal Yi Household Museum on the site. The zoo was moved in the 1980s and the palace has been restored.
Through the Honghwa Gate is Okcheon Bridge, an arch bridge over a lake, which are typical to Joseon Dynasty palaces. Over the bridge and past Myeongjeong Gate is Myeonjeongjeon, the office of the King.
The biggest building in the palace precinct, Tongmyeongjeon, built for the queen, has the most delicate structural details. Past this is Jagyeongjeon and, to the southeast, Punggidae - a long-poled measuring instrument with a cloth hung at the end which was used to check the speed and direction of the wind. To the north is a large pond called Chundangji, half of which was originally a rice field for the King to take care of.
The cost to enter the palace site is 1000 Won for an adult.
The Hwangyongjeon, Kyongchunjeon (with its charming open verandah), and the particularly attractive Tongmyeongjeon flanked by a small pool to the west, are all classically elegant buildings used as residential areas for the family, but eavh has little stories and little histories to tell: of being a banqueting hall, of being the place where a king or prince lay in state, where the queens lived. The Tongmyeongjeon is also notable for having no ridge, having a look more in keeping with traditional northern Chinese houses. All these buildings have underfloor heating ducts, and several chimneys from the stoves can be seen on the slope behind the buildings to the north.
Just to the east are two buildings used by the more recent of the Joseon dynasty, the Yongchunheon and the Chippokeon: they are joined together. The northern end of these buildings can be entered and by using the provided slippers, you can wander around the small bare rooms.
The southern part of the whole complex is laid out as parkland, contrasting with the woodland to the north of the buildings. Near one path is the 17th Century Kwancheondae or royal observatory.
One admission fee allows entry to both the Jongmyo royal shrines and Changgyeonggung, and the two are connected by a bridge over the main road.
To the south, behind the Myeongjeongjeon was the Munjeongjeon where the king would actually work and meet with his officials. He is also believed to have lived here, in small bare sleeping quarters. This building, like several others here, has no walls, but latticed continue almost to the floor. Several buildings in this complex show the rather spartan living accommodation that remains an admirable Korean trait to this day. The 1483 'original' was destroyed during the Japanese occupation, and was rebuilt in 1986.
And just behind this hall was Sanmungdong, one of the few buildings here not built during the 1484 extensions. It was constructed in 1724 specifically to commemorate scholars and academics, a tangible demonstration of the regard in which the educated were (and still are) held in Korea.
Behind the central core complex lies the Haminjeong, a small but extremely beautiful open pavilion where the king met with and congratulated those who did particularly well in the civil service examinations that were crucial for access to the top civil and military positions in Korea. This system, modeled on the Chinese imperial examination system, was astoundingly complicated and required many years of frantic studying and memorizing of endless facts and minutiae: this is a more pernicious trait that continues in Korea to this day.
Just to the north of the pavilion a number of domestic buildings lie around a dusty courtyard, but one which has tremendous tranquility: you can really imagine queens and princes strolling around here!
Behind the gateway is a stone bridge, the Okcheon-gyo, spanning an artificial brook: this is a clear indication of the strength of Chinese imperial architecture at the time (and note that the big expansion of 1483 by King Seonjong was at the same time Beijing's Imperial Palace was being constructed in its current form). The bridge, like every good Chinese bridge, is even guarded by mythical creatures, recognizable to any Chinese visitor. (Currently the bridge and this first courtyard is closed for renovation)
The courtyard between the Myeongjeongmun (Myeongjeon gate) and the Myeongjeongjeon (Myeongjeong hall....you should be getting the hang of it by now!) is paved with huge flagstones, warm in the sun, reassuringly solid in the ice and snow, with a central avenue lined with stone markers. These stones indicated where the different ranks of courtiers needed to line up during ceremonies and events at the palace. On a single, high stone platform is the Myeongjeongjeon dating from the 1616 recent reconstruction. Myeongjeongmun is almost (almost) unique in that it faces east, so creating an entire complex that faces towards the rising sun. I can think of only one other official royal building in Asia that faces east: the rest all face south. This was the core of the complex, with the 'public areas' in front, and the family quarters behind. As a secondary palace, there are few additional buildings on either side: there was no need for the offices and quarters of vast armies of bureaucrats and courtiers here. Where, in bigger palaces, there would be granaries, ministries, housing for battalions of clerks, messengers, visiting dignitaries and flunkeys of every kind, here at Changgyeonggung there are quiet gardens and parkland. The cluster of structures behind the Throne Hall were sufficient for the small imperial family and its retinue of personal staff.
Changgyeonggung was rebuilt in 1616, but these were again destroyed by fire in 1830: only Myeongjeongjeon was undamaged by the flames. The whole complex was rebuilt by 1834, to the original design. During Japanese imperial rule, the palace suffered the indignity of being demoted to being a garden, Changgyeongwon as home of a zoological garden, a botanical garden and a museum known as the Changsugak. It took until 1983 for the Korean government to turn to restoring the palace to its former glory, including the rebuilding of some structures torn down by the Japanese, and once more the stately complex was renamed Changgyeonggung. Whether the priority is to erase all traces of Japanese influence or to restore pride and loyalty towards Korean culture, the restorations are superb and this huge palace and grounds is a very attractive place, filled with families at the weekend and the elderly during the week.
The courtyard and halls of Changgyeonggung are imposing, yet have a homely feel, especially in the warm rays of a lowering sun, that is missing in many of the vast Chinese and Korean palaces. Unusually, this complex of structures feels more like a royal home, and the scale of the buildings is not overpowering like at Beijing's Imperial City or at Changde, or even nearby at Gyeongbokgung. Perhaps as this palace was not the seat of power, it didn't need to overawe and intimidate visitors.
The Honghwamun is probably the most imposing structure and it is just the entrance, a particularly attractive double-eaved gateway, similar to the gateway at the nearby Changdeokgung palace. It seems barely noticed by the visitors streaming in, yet it is one of the most interesting and complex buildings at Changgyeonggung. Its 3 kan by 2 kan structure makes it much more graceful than Chinese ceremonial gateways, yet it conveys an impression of strength and splendour. It is a pity that the main road is so close by: it really deserves some open space in front to allow the visitors to appreciate the scale and grace of it all.