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Royal palaces in Seoul offer free access during Chuseok holiday

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A group of tourists from China pose for photos at Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul in this May 1. 2019 file photo. AFP-Yonhap

Royal palaces in Seoul will be open to the public for free during the extended Chuseok holiday from Thursday to Wednesday, according to the Cultural Heritage Authority (CHA).

Four palaces from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) ― Gyeongbok, Changdeok, Deoksu and Changgyeong ― will be open during the six-day period, the CHA said.

Royal tombs of the dynasty, which are scattered around Seoul and the surrounding cities, and Jongmyo Shrine, where Joseon-era royal ancestral tablets are enshrined, will also be free of charge during the traditional holiday.

Visitors to Gyeongbok and Deoksu palaces can explore new buildings that have been recently opened to the public after extensive restoration.

Gyejodang, a part of Gyeongbok Palace where the Joseon crown princes attended to state affairs and hosted banquets, opened to the public last week for the first time in 110 years after six years of restoration work.

Built in 1443 during King Sejong's reign, the original Gyejodang was completely destroyed by the Japanese colonial government in around 1910.

Dondeokjeon, a historic Western-style building in Deoksu Palace used as a royal guesthouse during the Korean Empire (1897-1910), is now available for visiting after six years of restoration to its original form.

The two-story building, known to have been first built during the reign of Emperor Gojong around 1901, was used mostly as a reception hall and a place to meet foreign guests. It was also a historic place where his son, Emperor Sunjong, took the throne in 1907. (Yonhap)


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