Located at the corner of the busiest intersection of downtown Seoul, Deoksugung Palace is, among other things, a palace famous for its elegant stone-wall road. It is the only one that has western buildings beside it, and it adds to the uniqueness of the scenery. Deoksugung Palace originally belonged to Wolsandaegun (1454~1488), the older brother of King Seongjong (1469~1494) of the Joseon Dynasty. It became a proper palace when Gwanghaegun (1575~1641) ascended the throne and gave the palace the name Gyeongwungung in 1611. Afterwards, the name was changed to Deoksugung.
Enter Deoksugung Palace and Daehanmun, and Geumcheon appears, with the Geumcheon bridge, wide enough for the kings carriage to pass. The Beopjeon Building Junghwajeon is very stately looking, telling of its long history. The Jeukjodang Building received its name because Gwanghaegun and In-Jo both ascended to the throne here. The front sign on Jeukjodang was written personally by GoJong in 1905 after he became king. Hamnyeongjeon was where GoJong slept, and Hamnyeong was named so to wish GoJong lasting peace. The East Wing served as the Kings room, and the west wing was for the Queen. Jeonggwanheon was the first western style building built in the palace in 1900. GoJong enjoyed drinking coffee and spending his free time here. The back of the building had secret passageways to the Russian Emissary, which still exist today.
Seokjojeon is the other western style building that still remains in Gyeongwungung, and it was in the process of being built by a British man for his company when in 1905 the property rights became that of Japan. It was finally completed in 1910. After Gojongs death, Seokjojeon became a Japanese art gallery and open to public, and after Korean Independence, the American-Russian joint commission was held here as well in May 1946. The east wing of Seokjogwan building now serves as a Palace Treasure exhibition, and the west wing is used as part of National Modern Arts Center.
*The Royal Museum at Deoksugung Palace will be closed from January 1 to August 8, 2005 as it prepares to relocate at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Palace Sumunjang Exchange Ceremony - End of March ~ December (except Mondays and National Holidays) Morning : Suwi Ceremony : Afternoon (2:00 ~ 3:30 pm)/Exchange Ceremony (July, August 3:00 ~ 4:30 pm)
Subway - Get off at City Hall Station. If coming from Subway Line 1, go out Exit No.2, and if coming from Subway Line 2, go through Exit No.12. Walk for about 2~5 minutes.