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Deoksugung Palace

  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Location 99, Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul (5-1, Jeong-dong)   View Map
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Overview

The site of Deoksugung Palace was originally occupied by a private residence of Prince Wolsan, the older brother of King Seongjong (r. 1469-1494) of the Joseon Dynasty. When the Japanese invasion broke out in 1592, King Seonjo (r. 1567-1608) retreated to the north and came back to Hanyang, today’s Seoul, in the following year. The house of Prince Wolsan’s descendant was chosen to be the king’s temporary residence, and was called the Temporary Palace in Jeongneung-dong. Afterwards, King Gwanghaegun (r. 1608-1623), the successor of King Seonjo, changed the palace’s name to Gyeongungung. Changdeokgung Palace was reconstructed in 1611 and King Gwanghaegun stayed both in Changdeokgung and Gyeongungung Palaces, before Queen Dowager Inmok was confined in Gyeongungung in 1618. In 1623, the ceremony of King Injo’s enthronement was held in Gyeongungung, and Changdeokgung became one of the main palaces of Joseon. Until the end of the 19th century, Gyeongungung and its neighborhood were used by its original owners. In 1896, King Gojong (r. 1863-1907) took refuge in the Russian legation avoiding the Japanese threats, and came back to Gyeongungung Palace, instead of Gyeongbokgung Palace, because the consulates and legations of the Western countries were located nearby Gyeongungung. He reconstructed various halls in the precincts of Gyeongungung, and also built an altar for worshipping the heaven and the earth. Finally, King Gojong declared the establishment of the Korean Empire at Gyeongungung in 1897. However, most of the halls in Gyeongungung Palace were destroyed by fire in 1904. An extensive reconstruction was carried out until 1906, and King Gojong abdicated in favor of his son, King Sunjong, in 1907. The new king moved to Changdeokgung Palace, and the father king stayed in Gyeongungung and bestowed a new name Deoksugung (Palace of Virtuous Longevity). Deoksugung Palace shows unique architectural styles, which are different from other traditional palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, as it was originally a private residence of a royal family and some of its buildings, such as Seokjojeon and Jeonggwanheon, were built in a Western style during the reconstruction process. The coexistence of Korean traditional and Western-style architectural characteristics in the palace symbolizes the turbulent period of Joseon, when foreign influences were brought into the country. Deoksugung Palace was designated as Historic Site No. 124 in 1963.

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