Two of Seoul's royal palaces, Deoksugung and Changdeokgung, welcome audiences at night with a variety of traditional performances.
The "Performance by Masters at Deoksugung Palace" series, which kicks off its annual season on May 10, is set to make visits to the only royal palace to remain open late at night all year round more appealing.
The palace, which is considered the most representative of Korea's modern history, offers a wide array of traditional Korean performances. Running through September 20, the program unveils a relay of folk songs, pansori, and gayageum sanjo among improvisations of other traditional instruments such as haegeum or daegeum.
Marking the 50th edition since its premiere run in November 2010, the organizers are planning a special stage for this year's final performance scheduled on September 20.
Photo courtesy of Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation
The performances held every Thursday at 7 p.m., at the palace's Jeonggwanheon Pavilion -- known for having been a resting area for King Gojong -- are offered free-of-charge to palace ticketholders. Admission to the palace is 1,000 won.
The program was co-hosted by the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation and the Cultural Heritage Administration under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in a bid to reinvigorate Korean palaces.
For those who seek in-depth knowledge of another architectural beauty once reserved for members of the royal family, the Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour has made its awaited comeback this spring.
Widely admired for representing the utmost Korean aesthetics set against breathtaking natural scenery, the UNESCO-treasured Changdeokgung has offered authentic night tours during the full moon of spring and fall since September 2010.
Changdeokgung Moonlight Tour
The two-hour docent-led walk around its courtyards is a perfect way to get a glimpse of the architectural beauty once reserved for members of the royal family. The docent narrates the historical and cultural backgrounds of the venues and invites participants to enjoy a mini concert of Korean traditional performances in the moonlight alongside traditional snacks and tea.
Along with a series of guided tours in Korean, the season's four sessions customized for foreign visitors will run on June 4 and 5 and October 1 and 31. The group tour begins at 8 p.m. (with an early beginning slated for October 31 at 7 p.m.) from the main gate Donhwamun and lasts for approximately two hours. A ticket for the Moonlight Tour costs 30,000 won. Advance reservation is mandatory and can be made online 20 days prior to the tour at: http://ticket.interpark.com/Global/Play/Goods/GoodsInfo.asp?GoodsCode=12005095.
Meanwhile, visitors can explore all four royal palaces and the UNESCO-designated World Cultural Heritage site Jongmyo Shrine by purchasing an all-inclusive ticket. The pass costs 10,000 won for adults and is valid for a month after the purchase date.
You can find an annual calendar of cultural programs and events held at royal palaces here: www.chf.or.kr/program/board/detail.jsp?menuID=002005001boardTypeID=68boardID=26420mode=detail.
For more information, please visit the official websites below:
- Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation: www.chf.or.kr(Korean and English)
- Deoksugung: www.deoksugung.go.kr (Korean and English)
- Changdeokgung: http://eng.cdg.go.kr(Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese)
By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer