Days 6: Changdeokgung and HuwonNovember 13, 2019 in South Korea ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C
Wednesday we went to Changdeokgung, the East Palace. We had originally tried to visit on our first full day in Korea but were foiled by hundreds of hanbok-clad tourists. The Huwon ‘Secret Garden’ is the biggest reason to visit this palace, and all tickets to the Secret garden were sold out that day. It’s the worst kept secret ever.
After failing to get tickets Saturday, we reserved tickets for Wednesday online. We were set to return first thing in the morning.
Changdeokgung was built in 1405 just after Gyeongbokgung (See Day 2.). The then king killed his brother-in-law inside Gyeongbokgung which, clearly, made staying there a bit awkward, so he moved a bit east to the new palace. Changdeokgung was burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasion in 1592. It was rebuilt in 1609, only to be burnt down again in another revolt against the 15th king of the Joseon Dynasty. Rebuilt again. Possibly burnt partially again. Rebuilt. Served as the seat of the Joseon Dynasty until 1868 when Gyeongbokgung was rebuilt (also burnt down during the 1592 Japanese invasion.)
That was exhausting. In summary, Changdeokgung has been faithfully rebuilt in its original style each time, so it is true to the style of 1405. Because of this and the gardens it is built within, Changdeokgung is an excellent example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design.
The real reason to visit Changdeokgung is Huwon. You must take a tour of this garden, and tickets sell out quickly. The garden was the private residence of the royal family living at the palace. The garden is 78 acres in size and comprises about 26,000 specimens of 100 different types of trees. The tour took a little over an hour, and we were walking for most of that time. The garden is massive and beautiful, especially with the Autumn colors.
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