Changgyeonggung Palace, in the Hyewha district of Seoul, has an interesting history. From reading Robert Koehler‘s Seoul guidebook I was able to get some background info of this palace. The Palace dates from 1484 when it was built as a home for three former queens. During the Japanese invasions of 1592-1598, the palace was torched and destroyed. In 1616 the Palace was rebuilt and turned into a park in 1907 when the emperor at the time moved palaces. The park included a botanical garden and a zoo. As Koehler says in his guidebook, the “parkification” of the palace was completed by the Japanese occupying forces in 1910 when the palace was renamed from Cheonggyeonggung (“Changgyeong Palace) to Changgyeongwon (Changgyeong Garden). Around that time it was open to the general public but was restored to it’s status as a palace in 1983 when the zoo was removed.
I was struck immediately by the beauty of this palace. I wasn’t expecting much as it’s overshadowed by the larger and more historically famous palaces Gyeongbokgung and Cheongdeokgung. Yet, the interior was equally elegant and expansive. The palace itself faces east to take advantage of it’s unique position topographically, compared to the other palaces which all face South, aligned with feng shui principles.
The palace itself does still retain a park feel. The zoo is gone, but the botanical garden remains as well walking paths, a small japanese style pond and vast green expanses. Honestly, I could feel some of the lingering Japanese influence here, in terms of some of the architecture. Yet, I can’t comment a lot on the entirety of the Palace as I was in a rush to another apppointment. The palace definitely warrants another visit, so I can explore the botanical gardens, considered a highlight of the compound. Until next time!