Friday, March 29, 2013

Sipping Coffee at Jeonggwanheon

Definitely my favorite building in the incongruous motley of structures within Deoksugung Palace, Jeonggwanheon is a combination of both Korean and Western features. Literally meaning "place from which to watch the garden silently," Jeonggwanheon is situated on a hill of the rear garden - the counterpart to the pavilions found in the rear gardens of the other palaces. Enveloping three sides of the building is a veranda, which is decorated with carvings in traditional Korean motifs such as dragons, bats, and flower vases. It is from here that Emperor Gojong enjoyed sipping coffee as well as holding banquets for foreign enjoys. Ironically, this favored brew of Gojong was used in a failed assassination attempt of both Gojong and crown prince Sunjong. Although Gojong did sip the coffee, he did not swallow it. Unfortunately Sunjong did drink and suffered from effects of the poison. 

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