Deoksugung, Deoksu Palace, is one of the "Five Grand Palaces" built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897), located west of Gyeongbok Palace, (Gyeongbokgung), the main royal palace. The walled compound of palaces was inhabited by members of Korea's royal family until the Japanese occupation and the following colonial period around the turn of the 20th century. Like the other "Five Grand Palaces" of Seoul, Deoksugung was deliberately partly destroyed during that colonial period, so that only one third of the structures that were standing before the occupation remain. The buildings are of varying styles, traditional wooden buildings, but some buildings were built of stone resembling western-style palaces.
Since 1996 Deoksugung Palace holds a guard-changing ceremony three times daily, in front of the main Daehanmun Gate. The procedures follows carefully, after thorough historical research, what is known how it was done during the Joseon dynasty. It involves 50 participants in splendid Joseon-era costumes and the whole procedure lasts for thirty minutes.
Changgyeonggung ("Palace of Flourishing Gladness"), Changgyeong Palace, just east of Changdeokgung, was originally the Summer Palace of the king during the Goryeo dynasty, that lasted until 1392 when the Joseon Dynasty rose to power; it later became one of its Five Grand Palaces. It was renovated and enlarged in 1483 by King Seongjong and received its current name. This palace too was largely torn down by the Japanese in the early 20th century, to make room for a modern park, including a zoo, botanical garden, and museum. In 1983 the zoo was relocated and restorations of the palace buildings have taken place, like the Honghwamun, the palace's main gate and Myeongjeongjeon (main hall) - both first built in 1484, both burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592 and rebuilt in 1616.