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The Changdeokgung is one of the 5 Grand Palaces that you can visit in Seoul and maybe the most beautiful.

Built in the 15th century during the Joseon Dynasty, it was initially dedicated for the Royal family’s serenity. But after the destruction of the principal palace, Gyeongbokgung, during the Japanese invasion in the 1590s, Changdeokung became the primary royal residence until 1872. Since then, it remained as a special place for the Royal family and for Korea’s history.  changdeokgung-682x384

However there are other reasons for this palace to be a special one, it’s his conception and mostly its famous “Secret garden” also called “Biwon” in Korean.

As you may know, China had influenced Korea especially during Joseon period when Confucianism was spread all around the kingdom. Like in China, the architecture but also the area where the palace was set up have to be in harmony with the environment to respect the “Feng sui” concept. In Korean it’s called “pungsu” and Changdeokgung is a perfect illustration.

With Bugaksan Mountain for background and “Biwon” as setting, its range of official and residential are perfectly harmonized with nature.

Changdeok Palace or the “Palace of Illustrious Virtue” is composed of numerous pavilion and hall and occupies a 57.9 ha site in Jongno-gu.changdeokgung-night

The official and residential buildings that make up the complex were designed in accordance by traditional palace layout principles that is to say made of wood and set on stone platforms, many feature tiled hipped roofs with a corbelled multi-bracket system and ornamental carvings. The particularity in Korea is that, historically in Korea, the government office buildings’ roof are made with a blue-tiled. By the way, the rooftop of the Blue House (the equivalent of the White House in the USA) also has a blue-tiled roof.

At the back of the private living quarters of the royal family is a terraced garden with decorative ondol chimneys.

The secret Garden has been “constructed” under the reign of King Taejon. Once again the idea was to keep the harmony between nature and human. Biwon was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when it was absolutely necessary. When you walk through this wonderful garden, you can find many pavilions and fountains. To me, the most beautiful season to visit Biwon is during fall, 3031123329_b11f2cf76f_bwhen the leaves turn red and orange, it is amazing. But honestly whenever you can go you have to check this place. It feels like you are out of the city in a heartbeat, the atmosphere is so peaceful. But you also have to know that Biwon is protected, you cannot enter by yourself, and you need to take a exclusive visit tour.

Furthermore, it has been treasured by Koreans for centuries; Changdeokgung Palace was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Committee in December of 1997.


To visit this Korean cultural treasure, you can check our tour on the link below:

Old and New Seoul City Tour


See more information about palaces: 5 Grand Palaces in Seoul

and  12 Historic places to see during your trip in Korea


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