Located right next to City Hall, Deoksugung is an oasis in the heart of downtown Seoul. Originally built as a residence for the crown prince, Deoksugung was the only palace to survive the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592. Today, it is the most modern of the palaces, blending a European-style garden and fountain with traditional palace architecture. It is also home to the National Museum of Contemporary Art, which features rotating exhibitions of Western and Korean artists.
While not as grand as Seoul's other four palaces, Deoksugung is notable for its contrast to the chaos and bustle of the surrounding downtown and makes an excellent stop after a day of sightseeing or shopping. At night the main hall and other buildings are illuminated, giving the palace a quiet, mysterious air.