The Forbidden City VS Changdeokgung Palace

Do you know the difference between the Forbidden City in China and Changdeokgung in Korea?

The forbidden city

Some people say that the Forbidden City in China is enormous in size whereas Changdeokgung in Korea is too small and humble. They say this because they do not correctly understand the philosophy behind Korean and Chinese architecture.

The Forbidden City in China overwhelms the surrounding landscape with its magnificent buildings to display an outside dignity drawing all eyes upon it. It was also designed to make sure that the castle was fully guarded with high buildings so that the people would not have easy access in order to make them feel that it was a place of authority and dignity where the sovereign ruler stayed.

Changdeokgung Palace

Meanwhile, Korean palaces were built in harmony with the surrounding nature to reveal an inner dignity. For example, if you visit Changdeokgung, you will see that Korean palaces are built in exquisite harmony with the mountains in the background. This is a sharp contrast with China’s Forbidden City with its large artificial mountain with stones around it. In other words, the Korean palaces may not possess grand and
majestic magnetism but they are full of inner magnetism keeping in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature to look like a piece of art. At the same time, the Korean palaces reflect the reigning philosophy of the king who tried to reduce the communication gap with his people. Therefore, the palace and peoples’ houses were built near to each other.

Today, Korea pursues “Green Growth”, which is also in harmony with the nature, as its vision for economic development. Against this backdrop, we can see the spirit of Koreans ancestors’, who endlessly sought to be in harmony with nature, in the spirit of modern Koreans.

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