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Tours of royal hall at Changdeokgung to open

Tours of royal hall at Changdeokgung to open

Free guided tours of the royal hall Injeongjeon at Changdeokgung -- one of the five palaces in Seoul of the Joseon era (1392-1910) -- will run for the entire month of March, the Cultural Heritage Administration said.

Existing tours of the palace covering major palace buildings are to add a 15-minute stop for a rare look inside Injeongjeon -- the main hall of the palace, where key royal ceremonies from proclamations to weddings take place.

Kings used the hall to discuss day-to-day matters of the state with officials and receive foreign dignitaries. Behind the throne in the hall is a folding screen called Irwoloakdo -- literally “the sun, moon and five peaks” -- a combination representing the country itself.

Weekday tours are available only on Wednesdays and Thursdays. On either day, tours in Korean and English will be available separately at 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Tours in Japanese will be every Wednesday at 11 a.m., while Chinese tours will start every Thursday at 10 a.m.

Twenty people who make it on time to Donhwamun, the entrance gate to Changdeokgung, will be able to join the tours.

The weekend tours are open Fridays through Sundays, all beginning at 10:30 a.m. Five people who come to the entrance gate at that time will able to join 15 others who have made reservations online at the Royal Palaces and Tombs Center website, royal.cha.go.kr. Tours are offered in Korean.

Visitors on weekday tours will get a snapshot of the vast palace grounds, while those joining the weekend tours will get an added understanding of the royal duties that were conducted there.

The CHA says more preparations are still required to run weekend tours in languages other than Korean.

“Explaining the kind of royal work carried out in simple terms is challenging enough in Korean,” a CHA official said.

Choi Si-young

The Korea Herald

Asia News Network

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