Deoksu Palace Opens Special Spring Tour Program
David Lee, March 29, 2016, 8:12 a.m.
Spring has sprung at Deoksu Palace, with the launch of a special tour program on Tuesday that opens up the beautiful architecture of the Joseon era (1392-1910) to the public. The special tour unveils the interior of the four throne halls of Deoksu Palace in central Seoul for the first time, according to the Cultural Heritage Administration.
Groups of sightseers let out gasps of satisfaction at the view from the second floor of Seokeodang, the only two-story building on the palace grounds. Korean forsythia and apricots blossomed in the spring breeze, pleasing the eye. Seokeodang means "the residence of the late king" and it was the home of King Seonjo (1552-1608) of the Joseon Dynasty.
Deoksu Palace became the official residence of Seonjo after his former residences, Gyeongbok Palace and Changdeok Palace, were burnt down by Japanese troops led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi when they invaded Korea in 1592. King Seonjo lived in Seokeodang until he died.
"Seokeodang embraces the traditional beauty of moderation of the Joseon period. One of the best ways to understand Joseon architecture is to look out at the surrounding landscape from inside." said Chung Sung-hee, the tour's guide.
Another newly accessible site in Deoksu Palace is Jeonggwanheon, a gallery where King Gojong (1852-1919) had his first cup of coffee. The king's bedroom was revealed to the public for the first time.
"At the time of King Gojong's death, his body was swollen and his teeth fell out. This led to rumors that the king was poisoned to death," the instructor said. The Deoksu Palace special tour is slated to run until April 3.