I’ve been in Korea more than a year and only recently had the opportunity to visit one of the Palaces. Contrary to popular belief, as a teacher in Korea, you do not have all the time in the world to do the touristy thing. But we had some time to spare on Sunday and decided to walk to one of the Palaces. Deoksugung Palace is situated in the Myeongdong district in Seoul.
Deoksugung Palace served as the king’s residence twice during the Joseon Dynasty. It was originally the home of King Seonjo and Prince Wolson who temporarily lived there after the Japanese forces withdrew from Korea in 1593. He lived here because all the main palaces where destroyed during the war. Prince Gwanghae renamed the Palace Gyeongungung Palace after rebuilding the palace and making it his main resident. The palace was used as a main residence by Gojong again during 1897. During the Joseon Dynasty the state was proclaimed an empire. The palace halls were rebuild and the compound was expanded to some three times its present size. Unfortunately Gojong was forced to hand his empire over to his son who became Emporor Sunjong in 1907. Emperor Sunjong Moved into Changdeokgung Palace and bestowed the title of Deoksu (virtue and long life) on his father, wishing him a long life. The compound came to be called Deoksugung Palace and the former emperor remained here until his death in 1919
Both Korean and Western architecture dominate the site. While walking amongst the Korean style buildings it feels like you’re walking in a different time. Almost like you’re part of a different era. It was quite an amazing feeling.
To get there you can take the dark blue line (line 1) and get off at the City Hall, across from Seoul Plaza. Alternatively if you get off at Myongdong (light blue line) you can walk about 2 blocks down Eulji-ro, past Lotte Duty Free to get there. Its right across from Seoul Plaza.
Next week I will feature the western style architecture at Deoksugung Palace.
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