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KIMCHI WALKS: CHANGDEOKGUNG 창덕궁

Location: Jongno-gu, Seoul South Korea

Anguk Station, Exit 3

Never thought I’ll be a person who’ll crave for something of the past.

From the colorful hanboks, to the well-preserved rooms of scholars, nothing screams Korean history more than the Korean palaces that still stand until today. Locals and tourists alike, both easily become mesmerized by the large grounds that once held assemblies by the king. A lot of people even try to visit the palaces looking like real royalty during that time.

It’s amazing work how the Korean government is able to preserve and rebuild something beautiful and unique to the country’s culture. Changdeokgung is only one of the few palaces that still stand today in Seoul. Changdeokgung might not be the main royal palace during the Joseon period but it’s the favorite of the kings. Mainly because this palace has a secret garden, famous for being the kings’ haven when the royal life becomes too much (which will come on a separate post).

Standing east of Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung is one of the easier palaces to locate. Exit by Anguk station Exit 3, and a couple of minutes of straight walking, one will see an enormous amount of people queueing for tickets to visit this paradise.

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I know it’s going to be one hell of a ride if ever I happen to live in Korea during the Joseon dynasty (I will never be able to bear the misogyny, that’s for sure) but I can’t help but wonder how magical it would be to wake up early in the morning without social media and have the large grounds of this palace surround me as I make my way through my day.

All the palaces I visited, not only Changdeokgung, gave me major Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo feels! It didn’t help as well that I played the drama’s OSTs while I roam around and read each section of the palace’s functions. It’s easy to get lost in all the rooms and pathways around the palace, I wonder how the royal court ladies managed before?

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One of the many things that make the palaces interesting are the divisions, presently called halls, and why they’re placed where they are. The Joseon dynasty emphasizes a person’s ranking thus the halls and other partitions of the areas of the palaces vary on this too. Even the walking path of the king is slightly elevated than that of his officials. If you get to look closely, I think these types of ancient respect and hierarchy are still observed by modern Koreans but of course, with a modern twist.

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My favorite part of Changdeokgung: the scholars’ residence. Another way to know where in the palace world you are in: the roof lining. Korean palaces are famous for the intricately detailed roof linings but halls where common people reside are devoid of them.

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The scholars’ area is very simple in appearance to say the least. They have to keep on taking the civil service exam and review in this exact place until they pass the test. I wonder how they were able to concentrate or fight off sleep because I, for sure, would snooze off right away if given the chance! It was the best place to read a good book and take a siesta after, during autumn at least.

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Pretty sure the scholars during this time weren’t allowed to use phones. Haha

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This was the road headed towards the exit. I decided to keep the Huwon Garden (Secret Garden) on a separate post to lessen the photos on a single post. See you next week! <3

Happy Christmas!

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1 Comment

  • Reply KOREA'S SECRET GARDEN

    […] Secret Garden, located in Changdeokgung Palace, is definitely not something suitable for real life though. Just imagining how quiet and peaceful […]

    January 8, 2017 at 07:40
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