Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many kings of the Joseon dynasty, and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The palace grounds are comprised of a public palace area, a royal family residence building, and the rear garden. Known as a place of rest for the kings, the rear garden boasts a gigantic tree that is over 300 years old, a small pond and a pavilion.
The palace gained importance starting from the time of Seongjong, the 9th king of Joseon, when a number of kings began using it as a place of residence. Unfortunately, the palace was burned down by angry citizens in 1592 when the royal family fled their abode during the Japanese invasion of Korea. Thanks to Gwanghaegun, the palace was restored in 1611. Even today, it houses a number of cultural treasures, such as Injeongjeon Hall, Daejojeon Hall, Seonjeongjeon Hall, and Nakseonjae.
Changdeokgung Palace’s rear garden was constructed during the reign of King Taejong and served as a resting place for the royal family members. The garden had formerly been called Bukwon and Geumwon, but was renamed Biwon after King Kojong came into power. The garden was kept as natural as possible and was touched by human hands only when absolutely necessary. Buyongjeong, Buyongji, Juhabru, Eosumun, Yeonghwadang, Bullomun, Aeryeonjeong, and Yeongyeongdang are some of the many pavilions and fountains that occupy the garden. The most beautiful time to see the garden is during the fall when the autumn foliage is at its peak and the leaves have just started to fall.
Though it has been treasured by Koreans for centuries, Changdeokgung Palace was recognized as a World Cultural Heritage site by the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Committee in December of 1997 during the committee meeting in Naples, Italy.
Changdeokgung Palace was one of the places visited by the first ladies of the Seoul G20 summit during the G20 conference in Seoul in November 2010. It is one of the most historically significant attractions that represent the beauty of Korea.