Located in the heart of Seoul, Changgyeonggung Palace was first built by the 4th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong (r.1418-1450), for his retiring father, King Taejong. It often served as residential quarters for queens and concubines. During the reign of King Seongjong (r.1469-1494), the palace was renovated and renamed to Changgyeonggung Palace. It later became a park with a zoo and a botanical garden during Japanese colonial rule. The palace was then relocated in 1983 and regained its old grace after years of restoration.
Past the entrance of Changgyeonggung Palace, the Honghwa Gate, you will find Okcheongyo Bridge. All palaces of the Joseon Dynasty have ponds with an arch bridge over them, just like Okcheongyo Bridge. Cross Okcheongyo Bridge, pass the Myeongjeongmun Gate, and you will find Myeonjeongjeon. This is the office of the king, and Myeongjeongjeon is the oldest of the Joseon Dynasty palaces. The houses face southwards, but Myeongjeongjeon faces east. Because the ancestral shrine of the royal family is located to the south, the gate couldn’t face the south, as is required by Confucian custom. There are stones with the status of the officials carved on the yard. Behind Myeongjeongjeon on the upper left side is Sungmundang. This building utilizes the slope of the mountain. If you look at Myeongjeongjeon and Munjeongjeon, the combination of the high and low roofs offers a beautiful view.
Tongmyeongjeon was built for the queen. It is the biggest building in Changgyeonggung Palace, and you can recognize the delicate details of its structure in various parts of the building. Walk up the stones past Tongmyeongjeon and there you will find Jagyeongjeon. On the southeast direction of the Jagyeongjeon is the Punggidae. This Punggidae is a measuring instrument. It is a long pole with a cloth hung at the end used to check the speed and direction of the wind. If you head north there is a large pond called Chundangji. Half of the pond was originally a rice field that the king took care of. But during the Japanese occupation, the rice field was changed to a pond with little ships floating on it. And the botanic garden built above the pond still remains today.