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Royal palaces offer glimpse of court life with special programs

Visitors enjoy royal tea and dessert at Saenggwabang in Gyeongbokgung, central Seoul, Oct. 20. (Yonhap)
Visitors enjoy royal tea and dessert at Saenggwabang in Gyeongbokgung, central Seoul, Oct. 20. (Yonhap)
Two of Seoul’s royal palaces, Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung, are offering a glimpse into court life during the Joseon era with a number of hands-on programs.

Programs at Gyeongbokgung, the main royal palace of the Joseon era, will be held from Friday to Nov. 15, the Cultural Heritage Administration said Tuesday.

At Gyeongbokgung, Saenggwabang, a royal kitchen where snacks and desserts for the royal family were prepared, visitors can take part in a traditional tea ceremony and enjoy dessert. The kitchen will stay open in the evening hours during the special event period. After that, it will be open to those with reservations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Dec. 5.

Another event at Gyeongbokgung is the Experiencing Suragan program, where visitors can listen to stories about preparing food and drinks for royal banquets at the royal kitchen Suragan, and enjoy meals that were once served at royal banquets.

Near Suragan there will also be winter snacks, quizzes and traditional games prepared for visitors.

Reservations for the programs open Wednesday and tickets are 16,000 won per person.

At Changdeokgung, another Joseon royal palace, performances organized by the National Gugak Center will be held at 11 a.m. every day from Nov. 9-12.

Visitors in guided groups can take a look around the Daejojeon Hall where kings and queens lived and enjoy royal court music and dances at Gajeongdang.

The Gajeongdang area, which is normally not open to the public, will be the stage for singing, traditional dances and geomungo performances against the backdrop of the royal garden with the colors of fall foliage. Changdeokgung is especially appreciated for its beautiful gardens.

The performances are open to those aged 7 and above. On Nov. 12, organizers are inviting multicultural families. Tickets for performances from Nov. 9-11 will open Friday, priced at 15,000 won. Each performance can accommodate up to 40 people.

For more information, visit the Cultural Heritage Administration’s website at royal.cha.go.kr or call (02) 3210-4806.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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