Ben and I joined a guided tour to the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung. The entrance to Changdeokgung plus the Secret Garden guided tour came to KRW16,000 (about CAD16) per person.
The Secret Garden is the recreational area and retreat of the royal family.
This is the heart of the Secret Garden. The rectangular pond is known as Buyongji. Juhamnu Pavilion which stands on the high ground commands a fine view of the pond.
Buyongjeong Pavilion in the shape of a lotus flower is designated as a treasure in 2012 (Treasure no. 1763).
Eusomun, the gate in the above photo leads to Gyujanggak and Seohyanggak, the royal libraries.
The royal libraries are not open to the public.
This is another pond named Aeryeon which means “loving the lotus flowers”. King Sukjong, the 19th king of the Joseon Dynasty once said, “I love the lotus because it blooms with such clean and beautiful flowers, however dirty the water may be, symbolizing the virtue of a true gentleman.”
Bollomun or Gate of Long Life is a gate that only the king was allowed to walk through.
This is the area with four pavilions of various shapes. It is believed to be the last section to be added on to the Secret Garden. The Jondeokjeong area features a curved pond called Gwallamji and another pond named Jondeokji. The shape of the two ponds resemble the shape of South Korea, according to our tour guide.
Seungjaejung, a pavilion with a square roof is built deep in the woods on higher ground to command a good view.
Gwallamjeong pavilion with a fan shaped roof is built on the brim of the pond.
Pyeomusa is a pavilion with a gambrel roof.
A stone sculpture by the hexagonal Jondeokjeong Pavilion with double layered roof.
After exploring the Jondeokjeong area, we continued on and came upon the above Chwigujeong pavilion.It is the only thatched-roofed pavilion found in the palace today.
A U-shaped groove was carved on a large flat rock known as Soyoam to be filled with water. Sometimes, the king and his officials set afloat their wine cups on the water while they wrote poetry here.
The end of the tour brought us to the above 750 years old Chinese juniper. This aromatic tree was planted to provide incense for ancestral rituals at Seowonjeon Shrine.
The guided tour took 1 1/2 hours.