The QiRanger Adventures

Changdeokgung Palace

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Out and about...

Out and about...

It was Saturday. It was sunny. It was cold. In fact, it was the coldest day on record for the season, coming in at a whopping 16F (-9C) today. But I decided to do something foolish and head into Seoul. Not because I was going crazy in the one-room, but because I wanted to take a glimpse at something special and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to see it while the weather was nice (you see, the next week is being forecast for wet weather).

Changdeokgung

Changdeokgung

So I decided to “cowboy up” and take the bus into Seoul. What is normally a 45 minute ride took nearly 2 hours due to traffic and construction. I wasn’t exactly happy about it… but there was nothing I could do. My destination today was Changdeokgung. It was a palace build in 1405, in the fifth year of King Taejong’s rule as a back-up for Gyeongbukgung (the main Imperial Palace). Changdeokgung saw little use until the 1590s, when Gyeongbokgun was burned down during the Japanese occupation. The Royal Family ruled Korea here for some 300 years and lived in the palace until 1988.

As with all palaces constructed during the Joseon Dynasty, feng shui played a major part in its layout. A mountain is in the rear and a stream runs through it. The Palace also is home to the King’s Secret Garden. A special area where only he and those he designated were allowed to visit. It’s a remarkable place to go and see. Unfortunately, most of the year you must travel the grounds with a tour guide, limiting your visit to 90 minutes. However, in the warmer months, on Thursdays, there is a self-guided touring option.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is something special, and on this cold winter day, with the pond frozen over, something even more noteworthy. In fact, everything in the Garden had its place: the square pond symbolizing Earth; the round island symbolizing Heaven; the gates, the library, etc. It was a magical excursion. Feel free to see more photos here.

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Written by Steve Miller

December 6, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Education, Korea, Travel

Tagged with , , ,

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