Changdeokgung Palace is a grand royal residence located east of Gyeongbokgung Palace. It is the best preserved of the remaining Joseon palaces. The palace is the second oldest in Seoul after Gyeongbokgung and was used as a secondary palace when first built.
Construction on the palace known as “the palace of illustrious virtue” began in 1405 during the reign of King Taejong and was completed in 1412. Taejong was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty who ruled from 1400 to 1418.
General admission ticket does not include the Huwon secret rear garden.
Changdeokgung, and the rear garden, is included with the Integrated Ticket Of Palaces.
Gyeongbokgung was located in the west. Changdeokgung, along with Changgyeonggung Palace, were located in the east and therefore they were known as the “East Palace.”
The grounds consists of a public area, residential building for the royal family, and Huwon, the beautiful large rear garden used by royalty for rest and relaxation. The garden, also built by Taejong, served as a resting place for the royal family.
Buildings are laid out in perfect harmony with the mountains and other natural surroundings. This unusual type of design is unique to Korea and has influenced the layout of other royal residences.
A number of kings resided here until it was burnt down and destroyed in 1592 during the Japanese invasion of Korea. Around 1610, reconstruction was started by King Gwanghaegun with help from King Seonjo. In 1623, it was destroyed yet again during political revolts and military coup d’etat. It was reconstructed 24 years later in 1647.
Changdeokgung served as the main royal residence of Seoul for 270 years. Sunjong, the second and last emperor of Korea who reigned from 1907 to 1910, lived here until his death in 1926.
Though damaged, destroyed, rebuilt, and replaced throughout its history, Changdeokgung Palace still remains one of the best preserved examples of Korean palatial architecture.
Changdeokgung is considered one of the most beautiful palaces in Seoul thanks to its garden and natural surroundings. Not surprisingly, it became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.