According to the guidebook we picked up at the travel fair prior to our trip, Changdeokgung is the most scenic – out of the 5 grand palaces built in the Joseon Dynasty – during fall. For that reason, we ended up at its ticket office on our second day in Seoul. There were a number of visitors at the Donhwamun Gate, or the main gate, when we arrived, but the crowd thinned as we wandered further into the palace, making our walk a rather pleasant one.
Changdeokgung is the second palace to be built, after Gyeongbokgung in 1395, and served as one of the residences for the royal family. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. As described in online guides, the architecture of Changdeokgung was neither majestic nor imposing, but charming nonetheless for its simplicity, and ecological and historical significance. More about the palace’s Secret Garden in the next post.