Thursday, February 07, 2013

Changgyeonggung Palace - an Intro

As you might have guessed from the number of posts I did on the palaces of Changdeokgung and Gyeongbokgung, I found these treasures of Seoul to be beautiful and worth visiting - really spending the time to enjoy them. Located next to Changdeokgung is another palace - Changgyeonggung. It was never designed to be a primary palace for the royalty, and its dramatic alteration by the Japanese further diminishes its status when compared to these other two palaces. Built in 1418 as an overflow palace to Changdeokgung for three dowager queens (construction finished in 1484), it originally was named the Suganggung Palace. When Gyeongbokgung was destroyed by the Japanese in 1592, Changgyeonggung temporarily took over as being the main palace.

It also was destroyed by the Japanese during the invasion, but was rebuilt in 1616. Sadly, the Japanese once again destroyed the look and integrity of Changgyeonggung starting in 1907, not with fire, but with the systematic removal of most of the palace buildings, putting a zoo and glass greenhouse in their place. As a further physical and symbolic cutting of the Joseon Dynasty, the Japanese built a road between the main section of the palace and the important Jyongmyo Shrine (now a UNESCO site). Restoration of the Changgyeonggung Palace continues to take place, with the zoo being removed in 1983 and many of the buildings being rebuilt. 

No comments: