Deoksugung Palace is the 4th palace built in 1592, which is famous for its elegant stone-wall road. It is also the only palace that sits alongside a series of unique western style buildings
Deoksugung Palace history
1593 Residence of Prince Wolsan adopted as a temporary palace (26th year of King Seonjo)
1611 Palace named Geongungung Palace (3rd year of King Gwanghaegun)
1615 Palace becomes a secondary royal residence after the king moves to Changdeokgung Palace Palace (7th year of Gwanghagun)
1618 Queen Dowager Inmok is confined to the palace, and it is renamed Seogung, or West Palace (10th year of Gwanghaegun)
1623 Most palace buildings and land are returnde to their original owners (1st year of King Injo)
1897 King Gojong leaves the Russian legation and moves to Geongungung Palace Gojong assumes the title of emperor at a coronation ceremony performed at Hwangudan Altar
1900 Electrical system and fencing installed at Geongungung Palace
1904 Most palace buildings are destroyed by fire
1907 Palace name is changed to Deoksugung Palace
1933 Japanese colonial government destroys most of the palace buildings. sells the lots in open bidding, and develops a public park on the former palace grounds
It had served as a palace since the 26th year of the reign of King Seonjo (1593). The houses of Prince Gyerim and Sim Ui-gyeom in the vicinity were also included in this palace. Succeeding his father, King Gwanghaegun named it Gyeongungung in the 3rd year of his reign (1611), using it as the palace until moving into Changgyeonggung in 1615. Later, Queen Inmok, wife of King Seonjo, was expelled and detained here, and King Gwanghaegun renamed it Seogung. After the enthronement in 1623, King Injo gave the buildings in Deoksugung Palace back to the original owners except Jeukjodang and Seogeodang halls. Since Emperor Gojong moved in here after hiding at the Russian Legation, it was reused as a palace.
Deoksugung Palace features comparing with 4 Seoul’s Palaces
The western-style building was built after it was burnt down in 1904. In particular, it lost the harmony with the original palace buildings since huge stone buildings were built. What changed the most was the location of the main gate. It was Inhwamun Gate on the South but changed into Daehanmun Gate, originally Daeanmun, on the east. Although it served as the palace in the late Joseon Dynasty, Deoksugung Palace was considered a unique palace of the Joseon Dynasty, with its historical presence at the end of the Joseon Dynasty; it preserved both traditional stone-made architectures and western-style ones.
Main buildings of Deoksugung Palace
Daehanmun (대한문: 大漢門)
5 Seoul placess would have a big main gate. Daehanmun Gate is currently the main gate of Deoksugung Palace. This gate was originally called Daeanmun,(대안문:大安門)but its name was changed to Daehanmun when it was repaired in 1906. It used to be located further to the front. In 1914, the building on the right side of the gate and the fence were all severely destroyed by the Japan for construction of a road, and Daehanmun was also moved to the inside of the palace. And then, in 1970, it was moved to this current location by the Seoul urban city plan,. It has 3 entrances, Middle one is t for a King walking.
Junghwajeon (중화전: 中和殿)
Junghwajeon Hall, the main throne hall of Deoksugung Palace, seen through Junghwamun Gate. Both gate and hall were built in 1902, burned down in 1904 and rebuilt in 1906. It was the hall in which state affairs were conducted, official meetings held, and foreign envoys received. Originally a two-story building, it was rebuilt in 1906 as an one-story building. Inside the Junghwajeon Hall. You also could see the throne between the pillars. Behind it, there is a folding screen featuring the sun, the moon, and five mountains called Irwoloakdo. These expressed a wish for the nation, which was ruled by the emperor, to be prosperous forever. It was taken wherever the emperor went. On the ceiling, you also find a pair of dragons on the ceiling. They represent the authority of the emperor as well.
The name means
It means the stone house. It was the fisrt building of neoclassicism design styile in Korea. Actually, it is not quite in harmony with the other buildings, which was designed by a British architect, Harding. In the case of the traditional buildings, each had its own purpose and a specific person who used it. But following the Western way of thinking, numerous uses were contained in the one building. The first floor was a waiting room for servants, the second floor, a reception area, and the third, the residence of Emperor Gojong. However, the building was rarely used. After Korea gained its independence, a US-USSR joint commission was held here to discuss the establishment of the Korean government. After the Korean War, it became the National Museum and then the Royal Museum.
Hamnyeongjeon 함녕전 咸寧殿
Treasure No. 820, Hamnyeongjeon Hall of Deoksugung Palace was built in 1897 (the 1st year of Gwangmu) as a place where King Gojong stayed. It was rebuilt in 1904 (the 8th year of Gwangmu) by fire. King Gojong, who passed the throne to King Sunjong, died on January 22, 1919. This L-shaped building comprises 3-kan (a unit of measurement referring to the distance between two columns) front space and 4-kan side space, with a 4-kan extension attached to the rear of the western section. A small number of small-sized mysterious-looking sculptures are installed on the eaves of the building to keep away harmful spirits. The building has windows on every side instead of walls. Hamnyeongjeon Hall, the most recently built royal sleeping quarters, shows characteristics of the closing days of the Joseon Dynasty. It has a Korea traditional heating system called “온돌:Ondol” for winter
Jeonggwanheon 정관헌 靜觀軒
This building located in the back yard of Deoksugung Hamnyeongjeon, is said to be the first Western-style building built inside the palace. it is said that it is the place where King Gojong rested and drank tea. This building was designed by a Russian and has three sides open to the east, west, and south, and tall and thick stone pillars are used inside. The railing is a Western-style iron style, but the patterns use traditional Korean patterns such as pine trees, deer, and bats. It is a building that retains the Russian architectural style that can be seen a lot in the architecture with florally patterned wall made of orange and yellow bricks. The pattern represented a wish for longevity as well. It is very unique style old buiding among of Seoul places
Jungmyeongjeon (중명전 重眀殿)
It means “Hall of Everlasting Brightness,” was the royal library of Deoksugung Palace. It was first built in 1899 as a one-story Western-style building but burnt down in 1901. The current two-story red brick building was constructed shortly thereafter. Following a great fire at Deoksugung Palace in 1904, King Gojong (r. 1864-1907) used this building as his temporary office and residence. In 1905, the Japanese Imperial Army entered Jungmyeongjeon Hall and pressured the king to sign a treaty that would deprive Korea of its diplomatic sovereignty and make Korea a protectorate of Imperial Japan. The king refused to sign, but five traitorous cabinet members concluded the treaty against his wishes (its called Eulsa Treaty). Therefore, Jeson Dynasty lost his dipomatic right as a nation. It was built as a one-story Western-style building designed by JH Dye, an American who was invited as an architect invited.
Deoksugung Palace Open time & ticket price
9:00AM ~ 9:00PM (Last Admission 8:00PM)
Ticket fee: 1000KRW (age 19~64), 500KRW(7~18), 800KRW (Group 10 person or more)
* Contact 82-2-771-9951, press 9 Select 1 for English
How to get Deoksugung Palace by subway?
Deoksugung free guide
Tours of palace are given b professional guides, An hour to discover the Palace’s Highlights.
Available in English, Japanese, Chinese.
No tours in foreign languages on National Holidays.
The tour may be canceled due to unavoidable circumstances.
The 1-hour tour starts in front of the General Information Board.