If you're eager to experience ancient Korean culture and learn more about the country's background, you should visit some of its must-see palaces. These extravagant palaces, rich in historical and cultural significance, were once the mansions of the Joseon dynasty's noble families (1392–1910). Visiting them will undoubtedly transport you back in time, allowing you to see how the emperors and empresses once lived. In addition to experiencing the history, you can observe how these South Korean castles have evolved to fit into today's society.
The five Joseon palaces in South Korea:
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace:
Gyeongbokgung Palace (also known as Northern Palace) is an all-time popular tourist site in Seoul and also one of Korea's iconic palaces. It is frequently compared with Beijing's Forbidden City. The palace contains a throne chamber, the emperor's mansion, landscapes, and pavilions, which try to compensate for the property.
When comparing the five Joseon palaces in South Korea, it is the largest and, unquestionably, the most remarkable. It emphasizes the palace's extraordinary and wealthy charm with shades of ruby and jade.
The Sumunjang's ritual of changing the guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the most well-liked occasions to go there. There are two symmetrical and full events per day at 10 am and 2 pm and two shorter ones at 11 am and 1 pm. Manage your time and do not forget to arrive early because it can get crowded.
2. Changdeokgung Palace:
Changdeokgung Palace (also known as the Eastern Palace) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as the most used residence of many Joseon dynasties' kingdoms. It is the most well-maintained of South Korea's five remaining royal palaces. It is located at the lowest point of Mount Baegaksan's Ungbong Peak. The palace was built with topography in consideration based on geographic features. As a result, the palace faces south, while its secret garden (also known as Biwoon) faces north. The houses in the palace were designed to be both functional and symbolic of Confucian ideals.
he Biwon served as a vacation for the imperial family as well as a location for government examinations. It is placed against a greenery background and includes a sequence of trees, florals, a lotus lake, and numerous pavilions. It is highly recommended to visit the Changdeokgung Palace in the spring to see the beautiful cherry blossoms. Aside from that, fall provides a variety of vivid colors.It is notable for its artistic interior, which features many tiled ceilings, a multi-bracket system, and beautiful sculptures. The eye-catching shades will make you wonder how genuinely amazing Korean architecture can be. Because of its uniqueness, conversation efforts from the Cultural Heritage Protection Act will continue to protect this palace for many years to come.
3. Changgyeonggung Palace:
Changgyeonggung Palace, formerly known as Suganggung Palace, was constructed by King Sejong for his father, King Taejong. It was linked to the Changdeokgung Palace. In comparison to the other Royal Palaces, this one is quite tiny and compact. This palace was frequently used as a residence for royals and concubines. It had a zoo, a greenhouse, and a museum during the Japanese rule. It was also featured in the historical K-drama film The Throne, which depicted a scenario of Crown Prince Sado being sealed in a wooden rice box. Many people are unaware that Changgyeonggung Palace also contains the grand Greenhouse. Along with the zoo, the Japanese constructed this Victorian-style greenhouse in 1909. The roof ridge is decorated with numerous plum patterns, which are characteristic of imperial themes.
4. Deoksugung Palace:
Deoksugung Palace is a refreshing and eclectic palace situated on the corner of Seoul's busiest central crossroads. Initially, it was not considered a regal palace. It was originally the residence of Grand Prince Wolsan, King Seongjong's elder sibling.During the Imjin War, however, the imperial family's house was destroyed. so they were forced to move to this region. As a result, the palace served as both a formal palace and a temporary home. It is the only palace in South Korea with a one-story front entrance. Deoksugung Palace is now known as the Imperial Palace of Seoul. It is well-known for its elegant stone-walled road and the incorporation of European architecture within the complex, such as the Greek-inspired sanctuary and center fountain. The Shifting of the Imperial Guard, similar to Gyeongbokgung Palace, takes place three times a day in front of Daehanmun Gate. The ceremony reaches its pinnacle when 18 guards in six formal places strike a drum and issue commands. There are no rituals on Mondays or extremely chilly or hot days.
5. Gyeonghuigung Palace
Gyeonghuigung Palace (also known as Western Palace) is one of the five remaining Joseon dynasty palaces in South Korea. Located in Seoul, it was originally built as a secondary palace for the king to reside in during emergencies, but was later expanded to become a full-fledged palace. It was also used as a military training ground during the Joseon dynasty. The palace has undergone significant changes and reconstructions over the years, and today only a small portion of the original palace remains. However, visitors can still see the palace's impressive main gate, the Seogeodang residence, and the Gyeonghuigung Palace History Museum, which provides insight into the palace's history and significance. Despite being less well-known than some of the other palaces, Gyeonghuigung Palace is worth a visit for those interested in experiencing authentic Korean architecture and learning about the country's rich history.