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March 25, 2015

Deoksugung Palace 덕수궁

Deoksugung Palace served as a royal residential palace when most of the other palaces in the country had been burned down during the Imjin War (1592-1598). As a result of this history, the palace served as a royal court for Kings Seonjo (r. 1567-1608) and Gwanghaegun (r. 1608-1623) and Emperors Gojong (r. 1863-1907) and Sunjong (r. 1907-1910). It is especially admired for incorporating both Western and Korean architecture, including a modernized pavilion and western gardens that stand together with more traditional buildings from the 16th century. In addition to being beautiful, however, this strange mixture of architecture is also a reflection of the turbulence of Korean history. At the palace's rear garden sits a Romanesque pavilion, Jeonggwanheon Pavilion, designed by Russian architect Aleksey Seredin-Sabatin. This space, along with the rest of the palace grounds, are beautiful all throughout the year, making it one of the most romantic spots in the city - it isn't uncommon to spot couples walking hand-in-hand around Deoksugung Doldamgil, the stone wall that protects the grounds. If you are lucky, you can witness the changing of royal guards at Daehanmun, the front gate.

T. 02-772-9951,

At Namdo Shikdang (T. 02-773-7888) you can grab some of the best chueotang (loach soup) in Seoul. Try Ahaabah Braka (T. 02-753-7003, if you’re in the mood for fine Italian dining. Visit Deoksujung (T. 02-755-0180) and try some budae jjigae, spicy stew with sausages, ramyeon and kimchi.
Visit Jeongdong Observatory, located on the 13th floor of the Seoul City Hall Seosomun Annex (T. 02-120), to get a panoramic view of Deoksugung Palace and its vicinity. The observatory also has a fair trade caf? called Caf? Tterak (T. 02-6361-3977). You can also admire the works of Italian artist Giorgio Morandi at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Deoksugung (T. 02-2188-6114,
Seoul City Hall Station 시청역 (Line 1 or 2), Exit 2

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