Changgyeonggung Palace, located in the heart of Seoul, has been used as a royal residence and and as a secondary palace for queens and the king’s father.
A summer palace known as Sunganggung was first built at this location in 1104 during the reign of King Sukjong of the Goryeo Dynasty.
In 1392, at the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty, the capital of Korea was moved from Kaesong, in present day North Korea, to Seoul, known then as Hanyang. The first king of the Joseon Dynasty, Taejo, resided here while nearby Gyeongbokgung Palace was being built.
Admission is included with the Integrated Ticket Of Palaces.
Closed on Mondays
In 1418, King Sejong built a new royal residence for his father, King Taejong at this location. In 1483 and 1484, buildings at the palace were expanded by King Seongjong for the widows of King Sejo. At this time, the royal residence was renamed Changgyeonggung Palace.
Other Joseon Dynasty palaces in Seoul were built in accordance with strict royal principles regarding design and featured a north-south orientation. Changgyeonggung Palace was built differently. It features a more liberal design in an east-west orientation which was common during the Goryeo Dynasty.
Myeongjeongjeon, the main throne hall, Myeongjeongmun Gate and Honghwamun Gate each face towards Mount Naksan to the east. Joseon Dynasty structures at this time faced to the south.
A lack of living space at Changdeokgung forced Changgyeonggung to be used for residential purposes. Many attendants, princesses, and concubines lived on the grounds here.
Changgyeonggung Palace was destroyed by fires during the Japanese invasion from 1592 to 1598.
One of the most interesting and famous events to happen on the grounds of Changgyeonggung Palace was the murder of Crown Prince Sado. Sado, who was the son of King Yeongjo, was born mentally ill and often would kill people unnecessarily.
Heir to the throne, the royal family worried about the consequences if Sado were to become king. To prevent this, Yeongjo escorted his son Sado to Seonninmun Gate on the eastern side of the palace. Sado was locked inside of rice casket where he eventually started to death.
The wife of Sado, Hyegyong, kept the murder a secret until the death of Yeongjo in 1776. She revealed the secret in her memoir.
The son of Sado, Jeongjo, became the next king of the Joseon Dynasty after the death of Yeongjo. King Jeongjo, a much respected ruler, eventually built Hwaseong Fortress to house the remains of his murdered son.
During the 1800s, life at the here was peaceful. The complex was crowded with royal wives, concubines, residences, government offices, and gardens. This harmonious time was depicted in a painting know as Donggwoldo.
The palace was yet rebuilt again after a fire in 1834.
During the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910-1945, Changgyeonggung was known as Changgyeonggungwon (Changgyeong Garden). It was converted from a beautiful royal palaces into a resort with a zoo and botanical garden.
In 1983, the government of Korea removed the zoo and began work to restore the palace to its original appearance and beauty. Today, the botanical garden and cherry trees that were once planted remain. The work still continues to this day.
Various events are held on select weekends from spring to autumn. These events include tea ceremonies, reenactment of the king’s birthday, and marriage ceremonies.