Saturday, November 26, 2011

Trip to Changdeok Palace

Visited Changdeok Palace with KINSA committee members. 

Here is a short description on Changdeok Palace. Changdeokgung, also known as Changdeokgung Palace or Changdeok Palace, is set within a large park in Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the "Five Grand Palaces" built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. Because of its location east of Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeokgung, with Changgyeonggung, is also referred to as the "East Palace". The literal meaning of Changdeokgung is "Palace of Prospering Virtue". Changdeokgung was the most favored palace of many princes of the Joseon Dynasty and retained many elements dating from the Three Kingdoms of Korea period that were not incorporated in the more contemporary Gyeongbokgung. One such element is the fact that the buildings of Changdeokgung blend with the topography of the site instead of imposing upon nature.

Our main aim was to visit the "Secret Garden" which lies behind the palace. It is 78-acre which was originally constructed for the use of the royal family and palace women. The garden incorporates a lotus pond, pavilions, and landscaped lawns, trees, and flowers. The surroundings and the palace itself are well matched. It is said that there are over 26,000 specimens of a hundred different species of trees in the garden and some of the trees behind the palace are now over 300 years old. the garden that was extremely private space for the king had been called 'Geumwon' (Forbidden garden) because even high officials could not dare to come in without king's permission. Also it had been called 'Naewon' ('Inner garden'). Today Koreans often call it 'Biwon' (Secret garden) which is  derived from the office of same name in the late 19th century . Though the garden had many another names, the name most frequently used through Joseon dynasty period was 'Huwon'.

Visitors can enjoy the unique traditional craftsmanship of ancient Korea through the palace structures. 

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