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in the heart of Seoul are several historic palaces from the 1400s to the mid 1900s these were the residences of Korea's royal family the palaces we see today have been rebuilt and restored many times wars and invasions destroyed most of the original buildings palace sites were carefully chosen to harness the forces of nature buildings were constructed with timber frames and bracketing systems supporting gently curving at tiled roofs brightly colored patterns adorn the exteriors typically the layout of a Royal Palace consists of an outer enclosure one moves through a set of gateways towards a central throne hall further inside the enclosure are smaller courtyards housing various administrative chambers and the private residences of the royal family the largest Palace young vocal or palace of shining happiness is arranged on a north-south axis over a vast rectangular area in the center our council chambers where the King met with his ministers nearby an elevated banquet hall was used to entertain foreign officials also used as a royal residence but on a more modest scale was chengdu kun or palace of prosperous virtue the entrance gate is the oldest surviving example of its kind in the city at the back of the enclosure is an area known as The Secret Garden for the use of the royal family it features wooded paths ponds and pavilions there is a royal library and a recreation of a scholars class residence that served as a reminder of a simpler admirable lifestyle throne halls were important features of royal palaces the oldest throne Hall in South Korea can still be seen at another palace chung-yong goon a nearby restored Hall demonstrates some of the features a large canopy hangs above the throne behind the throne stands a painted screen showing the sun and moon over five peaks this imagery reinforced the connection between the Kings Authority and the harmony and balance found in nature smaller palaces such as toxic oon were used several times by kings and princes as temporary royal residences these contain many of the same features as the larger palaces such as a main gate and a throne Hall today the palaces of Seoul served primarily as tourist attractions visitors line up to see reenactments of court entertainment and Palace ceremonies the beauty and greenery of the palaces offer a quiet oasis away from the hectic pace of the modern metropolis you