Daehanmun Gate is currently the main gate of Deoksugung Palace. This gate was originally called Daeanmun, but its name was changed to Daehanmun when it was rebuilt in 1906. It used to be located further to the front. But as the road was expanded, it fell back to today's position. Originally the east gate, it became the main gate exceptionally, as the maingates of royal palaces were usually located in the south. This was because people often used this gate from the expanded road.
Junghwajeon Hall is the main hall of Deoksugung Palace. It was the hall in which state affairs were conducted, official meetings held, and foreign envoys received. Originally a two-story building, it was rebuilt in 1906 as an one-story building.
Now let's look inside the Junghwajeon Hall. Can you see the throne between the pillars? Behind it, there is a folding screen featuring the sun, the moon, and five mountains called Irwoloakdo. These expressed a wish for the nation, which was ruled by the emperor, to be prosperous forever. It was taken wherever the emperor went.
Now, please look up. You should be able to see a pair of dragons on the ceiling. They represent the authority of the emperor as well.
This is the Junghwamun Gate, the main entrance to the main hall. As a basic architectural feature, every building has its own entrance, and people can only enter the building through the gate. However, as you can see, people can enter from any direction, which means that the corridor surrounding the courtyard has been destroyed. You can see its remains on your right-hand side.
This is the Jeukjodang Hall, which literally means the house where kings ascended their throne. Historically, two kings, King Gwanghaegun and King Injo ascended the throne here. However, it was generally used as an ordinary office by Emperor Gojong. Because it has been used by King Seonjo, Emperor Gojong cherished this building greatly. So, when it was rebuilt, he wrote its commemorative plaque by himself. It was connected to the next building, Junmyeongdang Hall, by a corridor.
Seogeodang Hall is the only building at Deoksugung Palace with a two-tiered roof. Because it is not painted, Seogeodang Hall resembles a typical house of that time. Queen Inmok, the consort of king Seonjo who moved here during the Japanese invasion at the end of the 16th century, was confined in Seogeodang Hall for ten years. This move was used by the faction opposing King Gwanghaegun as a pretext for his dethronement.
After King Injo assumed the throne in 1623, most of the buildings and land were returned to their original owners, but Jeukjodang Hall and Seogeodang Hall were preserved.
The Deokhongjeon Hall is one of the most recent buildings, built in 1911. Let's take a look inside. You can see elements of the transition to modern society in here. Usually Korean-style buildings were built in a rectangular shape, but this is almost square. On the ceiling, there is a light which was first installed at Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1887, two years before China and Japan acquired one, and just 8 years after Edison invented it. The Emperor Gojong received foreign envoys here.
Gwangmyeongmun Gate has been moved to its original position. We will revise the contents as soon as possible.
This called the Jeonggwanheon, which can be translated as the "place from which to watch the garden silently". It was built in 1900, and was the first example of European architecture ever built in a royal palace.
This building is very different from the others. If you take a closer look at the building, you will see that he had a certain knowledge of traditional Korean architecture. Please look at the columns. It displays the traditional pattern of deer with bullocho, a mythical herb and elixir of eternal youth, as well as pine trees symbolizing longevity, and dragons for the emperor. Now try to find the bats if you can! Unlike in Western cultures, Asian believed that bats bring good fortune because the Chinese character for a bat sounds very similar to the character for fortune and because they breed a lot.
Now take a look at the florally patterned wall made of orange and yellow bricks. The pattern represented a wish for longevity as well. You can see the best example of this at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Now you can see the Seokjojeon Hall, which means the stone house. It was designed by a British architect, Harding. In the case of the traditional buildings, each had its own purpose and a specific person who used it. But following the Western way of thinking, numerous uses were contained in the one building. The first floor was a waiting room for servants, the second floor, a reception area, and the third, the residence of Emperor and Empress. However, the building was rarely used.
After Korea gained its independence, a US-USSR joint commission was held here to discuss the establishment of the Korean government. After the Korean War, it became the National Museum and then the Royal Museum.
And right now. it is used as Daehan Empire History Museum.
Jungmyeongjeon Hall was originally built as an imperial library to store and preserve valuable books and other objects during the renovation of Deoksugung Palace. However, in 1904, a large fire broke out at Deoksugung Palace and Emperor Gojong started using Jungmyeongjeon Hall as his private quarters. Upon Emperor Gojong's return to Hamnyeongjeon Hall following his dethronement in 1907, Jungmyeongjeon Hall lost its function as an imperial hall.
Suokheon Hall, the initial name of Jungmyeongjeon Hall, was named as such since it was built for the Emperor's study. However, its name was changed to Jungmyeongjeon Hall around 1906 when Emperor Gojong began using it as his private quarters.