On October 12, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism invited dozens of correspondents working in Korea for foreign news outlets on Changdeokgung Palace’s Moonlight Tour. The gathering was aimed at showcasing the unique heritage and briefing media representatives on current affairs and projects led by the Culture Ministry.

The Moonlight Tour at Changdeokgung Palace was launched in 2010 as part of the Creation of Living Palaces project (Photo courtesy of the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation).

The tour was also attended by Minister Choe Kwang-shik and Vice-Minister Mo Chul-min of the Culture Ministry, who held intimate conversations with journalists while walking around the palace. That evening, Minister Choe lived up to his reputation as an acclaimed historian, volunteering a detailed account of the ins and outs of the Palace. The recently appointed culture minister had previously held the posts of director of the National Museum of Korea and head of the Cultural Heritage Administration.

“Changdeokgung Palace is the most representative of Korean culture, as it has the most Korean characteristics among the five royal palaces,“ said the Culture Minister, who spared no effort in informing foreign journalists about traditional style and charms. “If Western architecture is built with an emphasis on magnificent exterior views seen from the outside, Korean architecture also puts an emphasis on the inside view.”

As one of the foreign journalists asked the culture minister what mission he considers to be the most important during his tenure, Minister Choe replied that he will concentrate on modernization of traditional culture, stressing the importance of tradition and its modern adaptation.

Nightscapes of Changdeokgung Palace (photographed by Hwang Dana)

Changdeokgung Palace remains today one of the best-preserved palaces in Seoul. The palace is regarded for its incorporation of the aesthetics of traditional Korean architecture with its atypical formative beauty laid out harmoniously with the surrounding scenery. It is widely acclaimed for its picturesque pavilions and gardens, which fully embrace the natural surroundings. In recognition of its distinct value, UNESCO designated Changdeokgung as a World Heritage Site in 1997.

The Moonlight Tour was launched at Changdeokgung Palace in 2010, as part of the Creation of Living Palaces project, a government initiative to turn the royal palaces into lively spaces that are open to the public. Anyone can join the program to experience the palatial beauty under the full moon and trace back the history of the Joseon Dynasty, while enjoying a stroll that was once reserved only for royal families. The tour takes place three to five days around the full moon period, which occurs once a month, during the months of spring (April, May, June) and autumn (September, October).

Tour participants can enjoy a 30-minute concert of various Korean traditional performances at Yeongyeongdang Hall of Changdeokgung (photographed by Hwang Dana).

The two-hour tours highlight the traditional architectural beauty of the palace and trace the history of the Joseon Dynasty. Docent-guided tours are available in Korean and English. The participation fee is 30,000 won and reservation is required. Reservations can be made 5-20 days ahead of each tour on a first-come first-served basis. The upcoming session is set to kick off next April.

For more information, please visit the official websites:
* Changdeokgung: www.cdg.go.kr (Korean, English, Chinese and Japanese)
* Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation: www.chf.or.kr (Korean and English).

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

[Source: korea.net]