Chang Deok Gung: A Palace in Harmony with Nature

The ancient seat of Korean royalty has 5 major palaces in Seoul and some are definitely worth a visit.  Chang Deok Gung is one.  We visited the palace as recommended if given half a day sightseeing only.  Some chose to go shopping… not me.  Although Geong Bok Gung is the grandest palace and the seat of power for centuries, we didn’t go there because it would need more time to fully explore.

And even if Chang Deok Gung is 2nd only in importance to Gyeong Bok Gung, it was a favorite of many kings of the Joseon Dynasty, perhaps because it was built in harmony with nature.

The walls inside the palace were laid out freely, not imposing but rather blending with nature

and this earned the palace a UNESCO listing as World Heritage Site in 1997.

Both palaces were totally destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion of 1592.  After the war, Gyeong Bok Gung was not rebuilt because its site was no longer considered auspicious.

Instead, Chang Deok Gung was restored in 1610 and served as main palace for the next 258 years, until Gyeong Bok Gung was finally rebuilt in 1868.

Some sites to note:

Seongjeongjeon – where the king handled routine state affairs.

Originally a hall for the king, but it was also used by queens to throw parties to honor elders and encourage customs of respecting one’s elders.

For leisure and relaxation, the royal family had a secret garden built.  The garden presents an unusually exquisite design adapted to the topography.

Buyongji lies in the heart of the Secret Garden.  A relatively open space used for retreats as well as for study.

A number of buildings were built around this rectangular pond.

Jondeojeong – this area is believed to have been the last to be added on to the Secret Garden.

The Palace in more detail:


11 thoughts on “Chang Deok Gung: A Palace in Harmony with Nature

  1. I like the photo of the two people waiting at the entrance to the Secret Garden. It could even be raining in the background. The woman has a gorgeous red jacket on. Thank you for sharing with me.


    1. Yes Julie, it was drizzling for the most part of the tour. The lady in red is our guide and it does have a telenovela (soap opera) feel to it, doesn’t it? I say this because Korean telenovelas are very popular here in my side of the world… and i call that photo my telenovela inspired shot. 🙂


  2. How exquisite and in touch with nature these places are and what worthwhile restoration projects. The great hall is vast and intriguing … if only those walls could talk! 🙂


  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful tour of the palace! The details are gorgeous and I like your commentary too — very educational, which helps me appreciate what I’m seeing more.


  4. lovely photos! i would love to visit korea one day.

    thanks for visiting my blog! yup, i went in to the lights and sounds show in the tunnel. it was very informative and definitely gave me a feel of what it would have been like for the soldiers to be stuck in there for months! creepy!


  5. Marvelous photos! The place looks so tranquil and serene, a good place for meditation too. I love the intricate details of the architecture.
    I love your travel and adventures!


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