November 3, 2014
On Sunday we ventured out into the chilly air to see Changdeok Palace (Changdeokgung). It was the 4th palace we’ve visited in Seoul so far and after a while they do tend to look the same. However, this palace had a feature that I really wanted to see in the fall: the Huwon Garden.
Like many things in Seoul, Changdeokgung was burned during the Japanese invasions between 1592 and 1598. It was rebuilt afterwards as a royal residence but burned again in 1623 and again in 1917. After the fire in 1917, the Japanese moved several buildings over from Gyeongbokgung.
Changdeokgung was the seat of power in Korea for 254 years – from 1618 to 1872. It also housed Korea’s last ruler, Emperor Sunjong, for a short period in 1907. After Korea’s last royal family returned from Japan in 1963 they used a few of the buildings as their residence until their deaths. In fact, Korea’s last crown princess (who was Japanese, interesting story!) died there in 1989.
To enter the Huwon Garden we had to pay extra and be on a tour. Unfortunately there wasn’t an English tour for the rest of the day so we joined onto a Japanese tour. Luckily, being on a tour is just for show. As soon as our tour began the guide let all of the non-Japanese speakers go so we were free to walk around the garden on our own which is exactly what we wanted. It was really beautiful walking around in the chilly fall air amidst the lovely colors. Enjoy the beauty!
Also, this has nothing to do with Changdeokgung, but we ate some really great burgers on Saturday at Left Coast Burgers in Itaewon and I knew y’all would like to see the photos: