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Deoksugung Palace is unique among Korean palaces in having a modern seal engraving and a western style garden and fountain. Medieval and modern style architecture exists together in harmony in Deoksugung Palace. The Changing of the Royal Guard can be seen in front of Daehanmun (Gate) and is a very popular event for many visitors. During the Joseon Dynasty, the royal guard was responsible for opening and closing the palace gate as well as patrolling around the gate area. Outside the palace is a picturesque road flanked by a stone wall which is much loved by visitors.
Originally, Deoksugung Palace was not a palace. The Imjin War (the Japanese invasions in 1592) left all the palaces in Korea severely damaged. When King Seonjo (the fourteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty) returned to Seoul from his evacuation, the primary palace Gyeongbokgung Palace had been burnt to the ground and other palaces were also heavily damaged. A temporary palace was chosen from among the houses of the royal family. This is the origin of Deoksugung Palace. King Gwanghaegun (the fifteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty) named the palace Gyeongungung, formalizing it as a royal palace. Since then it has been used as an auxiliary palace by many Joseon kings. In 1897, Emperor Gojong (the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon Dynasty) stayed here and expanded it. The modern buildings such as Seokjojeon (Hall) were constructed during this period. In 1907, the palace was renamed Deoksugung.