Changdeokgung: A Re-Visit to Seoul’s UNESCO World Heritage-designated Palace

Changdeokgung Korean palace main hall

Of Seoul’s major palaces, I’ve been to Gyeongbokgung and Changgyeonggung both many times. I used to work within a five minute walk from Deoksogung, so I’ve been there many times, too. Oddly enough, until this last trip, I’ve only been to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Changdeokgung just once. The reason I went this time was to see again the so-called “Secret Garden”–and that will be the subject of the next post.

I used to think that the kind of architectural contrast evident in the photograph below was interesting. Then I went through a period when I thought it relatively boring. After all, most of the palaces are built of restored materials, and they are most certainly not living palaces; no one lives in them now. On the other hand, there is a very strong traditional–many would say Confucian–undercurrent in Korean culture, and no amount of advanced technology or westernization has yet been able to overcome it. So in some ways there is still a living contrast of old and new.

Changdeokgung contrast

I’ve always found the traditional roof tiles and the repetition of forms and lines fascinating…

Changdeokgung Korean palace roof beams

Changdeokgung Korean roof tiles and walls

Changdeokgung angular roof shot

The last picture is a prelude to the next post. The tree shown below is in the main part of the palace grounds, and was photographed in them. I think it’s a ginko tree, though I am not at all sure.

Changdeokgung tree