The palace dates back to the 15th century and is one of five preserved royal palaces from the Joseon Dynasty in Seoul. With its magnificent throne or audience hall, it is considered an outstanding monument of Far Eastern architecture and garden architecture. The adjoining “Secret Garden” with a lake and around 300 trees was originally reserved for monarchs only.
Changdeokgung Palace: Facts
|Official title:||Changdeokgung Palace|
|Cultural monument:||a palace complex in north-south direction with the Tonghwa-mun in the south and the Pi-won in the north, the “secret garden”, which was originally reserved for monarchs only|
|Meaning:||outstanding example of the Far Eastern architecture and garden architecture of the 15th century in harmony with the natural surroundings|
Changdeokgung Palace: History
|1405||Summer residence of King Yi Taejo|
|1485||Renewal of the facility under King Songjong|
|1692||Establishment of the Yonghwadang|
|1872||Task as a royal residence|
According to areacodesexplorer, the “Palace of Blooming Virtue”, the “Changdeokgung”, is the best preserved of the five palaces in Seoul, four of which still exist. About half of the facility is only shown to visitors as part of guided tours. However, the »Pi-won«, the »Secret Garden«, remains largely closed to the view of the curious. Access to the palace complex is through the »Tonghwa-mun«, a gate that impresses with its proportions, elegance and color and, as the oldest in the city, probably dates back to the beginning of the 15th century.
“Tanch’ong” are the names of the colored patterns that adorn the stately and sacred wooden buildings of ancient Korea. “Tan” means vermilion and “Ch’ong” means dark turquoise. With the term »Tanch’ong« some colors like yellow, white and black, which are also used, are omitted, but blue, green and red tones clearly predominate. Each of these colors has a meaning and is reserved for a specific motif: Blue stands for the east and is used to depict dragons.
The Changdeokgung was created as a mere appendage of the neighboring, much larger Kyongbokkung, which served as the seat of government and royal residence. But in that war, which remained a trauma for the Korean people even more than the Korean War, in the extermination campaign of the Japanese at the end of the 16th century, the palaces were destroyed, but the Ch’angdokkung was rebuilt in the early 16th century and up to used as a residence well into the 19th century. Then it was given up and quickly fell into disrepair, because what travel writer Peter Bamm said about Chinese palace architecture applies to all classical buildings in the Far East, provided they are not fortresses: »The most permanent cultural soil on earth has chosen the most ephemeral materials for its architecture. The worms eat the wood,
After the Changdeokgung until a few years ago, members of the ruling family lived in a somewhat remote and inaccessible part of the palace area.
The very hilly terrain did not allow a symmetrical layout on a north-south axis based on the Chinese model, such as the main palace, the Kyongbokkung. The impression is less that of a palace with a park, but rather that of a park with buildings that are grouped like nests and are scattered irregularly over the site. The Audience Hall “Sonjong-jon” is the only one that is completely covered with blue-glazed bricks, which were only allowed to be used by the royal family for their buildings. In the residential complex behind it, exquisitely designed, shady courtyards convey a mood of calm and intimacy. The atmosphere is characterized by genteel Confucian restraint. You look in vain for banal pomp. Bricked »flower walls« and the chimneys of the »Ondol«, The underfloor heating developed by the Koreans and still in use today is adorned with plants, animals or lucky Chinese characters. Some wear the “Shipchangsaeng”, the ten symbols of longevity: sun, moon, clouds, mountains, water, pines, rocks, cranes, deer and mushrooms. The royal bodies and travel accessories are kept in a glazed hall opposite the audience hall. In addition to old-timers, there is a so-called unicycle litter, which undoubtedly made the porter’s work easier, and a collapsible “kiosk” into which the king could withdraw for “urgent business”. Mountains, water, pine trees, rocks, crane, deer and mushroom. The royal bodies and travel accessories are kept in a glazed hall opposite the audience hall. In addition to old-timers, there is a so-called unicycle litter, which undoubtedly made the porter’s work easier, and a collapsible “kiosk” into which the king could withdraw for “urgent business”. Mountains, water, pine trees, rocks, crane, deer and mushroom. The royal bodies and travel accessories are kept in a glazed hall opposite the audience hall. In addition to old-timers, there is a so-called unicycle litter, which undoubtedly made the porter’s work easier, and a collapsible “kiosk” into which the king could withdraw for “urgent business”.
The “secret garden” was only open to the royal family, although official events such as the examinations of the highest administrative officials were occasionally held on a lawn in front of the Yonghwadang in the presence of the ruler. Once a year the ruling couple withdrew from official court life to the »Yon’gyong-dang« estate in order to experience the simple life of their subjects – in other words: the Yangban, the nobility. The queen herself prepared a frugal meal of rice and seaweed soup for her husband.