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vicino Seoul, Seoul (South Korea)
From on-site description posters:
On this site were residential buildings of descendants of the royal family, including Prince Wolsan (1454-1488), the older brother of King Seongjong (1469-1494), and high-ranking officials of the Joseon Dynasty. When all the palaces of the capital were destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion of 1592, King Seonjo (1567-1608) used these residential buildings as a temporary palace. In 1611 King Gwanghaegun moved the official Royal residence to Changdeokgung, and this place became a secondary palace named Gyeongungung.
In 1897, King Gojong established the "Great Han Empire" and made Gyeongungung its central palace. New buildings befitting an imperial palace were built, some in Western Style. However, by that time the palace was surrounded by American, British, and Russian legations, and so its expansion was interwoven between the foreign legations. In 1907 King Gojong relinquished the throne but maintained his residence here. The palace was then renamed Deoksugung and reduced to make way for street widening. In 1933 another great reduction occurred, leaving only a few central buildings and the Western style buildings. It was turned into a park and opened to the public.
Deoksugung (Gyeongungung) was the symbolic center of resistance in the face of several national crises, including the Japanese invasion of 1592 and the difficulties during the closing years of the so-called Great Han Empire.
Visitor entrance gate. The track was made on the prime day of Lunar New Year Holidays in 2019 (welcoming the Year of the Pig) and the gates were open with no entrance fee on the day. Apparently there are admission fees at other times.
This gate was moved towards the west in 1970 for the expansion of Taepyeong-no Street. Before that it was, and still is, the Main Gate into the palace.
There is a convenient coffee and light breakfast spot right beside entrance gate (this waypoint location is there, about 50 meters from the gate).
Just inside the Daehanmun Gate is a small ritual bridge. To go into Deoksugung, like other Korean palaces, everyone has to cross a stream just inside the gate, symbolically purifying themselves before entering the palace grounds.
The bridge and stream was excavated and restored in 1986. Originally the gate was further back from the bridge, but it was moved closer to allow for widening the road.
Along the south perimerter of the palace grounds, passing pine trees.
The building now hosting the National Museum of Art was built in 1938 as a west wing expansion of Seokjojeon. Corinthian columns stand in front of the entrance. A Western-style garden with a fountain was created in the front. This early February track is not ideal for viewing the gardens, the winter is like in Canada.
On the day the Museum had a fascinating, full-venue display illustrating the development of Korean painting and drawing around the end of the 19'th Century, during a time of great social turmoil and change.
Along the north perimiter of palace grounds, behind Seokjojeon.
Seokjojeon is a Western-style building used by King Gojong as sleeping quarters and an audience hall. Some parts of the building are acessible to visitors, at least the western basement. Designed by J.R. Harding, a British architect, its construction was completed in 1910. It was built in the 19'th century neo-classical style, fronted with a colonnade of the Iconic style, topped with a triangular gabled roof. The west wing (now National Museum of Art) was added in 1938.
Smaller traditional buildings, sunken staircases and paths, old walls and portals.
Junghwajeon served as the main throne hall of Deoksu Palace and was used for ceremonial occasions such as coronations and receiving foreign envoys. It was originally build with a two tiered roof in 1902, however it burned down in 1904 and was rebuilt as a single tiered structure in 1906.
A throne and folding screen are seen on the high platform. The higher folding screen behind the throne shows patterns of the sun, the moon, and the five mountains. The sun and moon represent a king and queen respectively. The five mountains symbolise the land of the dynasty. A carved wooden canopy stands over the throne and is decorated with carved dragons, which are shown on the ceiling of the hall as well.
On the "Dark Blue" Subway Line, City Hall Station, Exit One.
This exit provides direct access to the Deoksugung (Gyeongungung) Palace entrance gate, and comes up beside a convenient doughnut and coffee spot.
There was a very popular skating rink in front of city Hall on the day (early February 2019), with skate and helmet rentals available.
On the "Dark Blue" Subway Line