- Name: Gyeongbokgung Palace, 경복궁
- Location: No. 1 Sejong Road, Jongno District, Seoul, South Korea
- Reason to visit: The most famous palace in South Korea
- Our rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
- Opening hours: Closed on Tuesdays
- Each January to February: 09:00~17:00 (Final admission at 16:00)
- Each March to May: 09:00~18:00 (Final admission at 17:00)
- Each June to August: 09:00~18:30 (Final admission at 17:30)
- Each September to October: 09:00~18:00 (Final admission at 17:00)
- Each November to December: 09:00~17:00 (Final admission at 16:00)
- Entrance fee: Age 19~64: 3,000 won; Age 7~18: 1,500 won; Free: Children Ages 6 and under, Seniors Ages 65 and above
- Recommended tour: 5 Days Seoul Exploring Tour
Gyeongbokgung Palace is the major palace of the five palaces in South Korea, which was built in 1395. Its name comes from China's Book of Songs: 君子万年，介尔景福, which means the gentleman will live for long life with a great blessing.
Gyeongbokgung Palace used to be the main palace, the center of history and politics during the Lee Dynasty. The fate of Gyeongbokgung Palace is very tragic because it has experienced continuous destruction and reconstruction, but this cannot change its status in the hearts of the Korean people.
Nowadays, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a landmark in Seoul, no matter the local people or visitors are interested in its history and architecture.
History of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 by King Taejo. It located in the north of Seoul and was served as the main palace about 200 years old. Gyeongbokgung Palace was burnt down by fire in 1553 and rebuilt later. During the Japanese invasion, Gyeongbokgung Palace was destroyed and it was idle after the war for 273 years. Changdeokgung Palace, a secondary Palace, was rebuilt and served as the main palace.
In 1868, the king decided to move back to Gyeongbokgung Palace after reconstruction, but an explosion occurred in 1874, so the king transferred back to Changdeokgung Palace. After Gapsinjeongbyeon in 1884, the king moved to Gyeongbokgung Palace. But as The last empress was killed in Gyeongbokgung Palace in 1895, the royal family has never returned to Gyeongbokgung Palace.
In 1904, Japan annexed the Korean Peninsula and Korea became a colony of Japan. The Japanese invaders decided to demolish all the palaces in the south of Gyeongbokgung Palace under the name of rebuilt Chengdeokgung Palace. The South Korea government began a large-scale reconstruction of Gyeongbokgung Palace from 1968 and finished the reconstruction in 2010.
Layout of Gyeongbokgung Palace
The area and regulations of Gyeongbokgung Palace are strictly followed the relationship between the patriarchate. The colors of all buildings in Gyeongbokgung Palace are cyan, mainly to distinguish it from the golden color of the Chinese Royal Palace.
Gyeongbokgung Palace covers an area of 57.75 hectares and has a square shape. The palace divided into two parts: the outer palace and the inner court. The outer palace consists of Geunjeongjeon, Sajeongjeon and Sujeongjeon, which are the places that the kings deal with the state affairs. The inner court is where the king and queen live, including Gangnyeongjeon, Gyotaejeon and Jagyeongjeon. Besides that, there are some pavilions for the royal family spending free time, such as Gyeonghoeru and Hyangwonjeong.
What to see in Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gwanghwamun Gate has been burnt down 3 times and reconstruction for 4 times, and it can be called the national gate of South Korea from a historical perspective. It's a landmark in Seoul, so many important events or ceremonies will be held there.
Geunjeongjeon is one of the outer palaces in Gyeongbokgung Palace. As the main hall, it was used to hold formal ceremonies and accept the worship of the ministers. Geunjeongjeonis the largest wooden building in ancient Korea and it was designated as the No.223 National Treasure in South Korea.
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pavilion
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pavilion make the Gyeongbokgung Palace even more charming. It is located on the northwest side of Geunjeongjeon, and it is known as the No.224 National Treasure. It is a place where the country holds banquets or greets diplomatic envoys. The shape of the pavilion is known as the best in South Korea.
Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is the No.1761 National Treasure in South Korea, which located on the island in the middle of the lotus pond in the garden of Gyeongbokgung Palace. Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is only for the royal family and it is a hexagon building with exquisite workmanship and unique shape. It looks more graceful than Gyeonghoeru Pavilion.
Gyotaejeon and Jagyeongjeon
Gyotaejeon was used as the main residing quarters by the queen during the Joseon Dynasty. It's located behind the king's residence. Jagyeongjeon is Queen Sinjeong's main residing quarter, and she is King Heonjong's mother. This building was built in 1865, burnt down by the fire, but rebuilt in 1888.
The name of Amisan comes from Emei Mountain in Sichuan Province, China. Amisan, located behind Gyotaejeon, is a famous royal garden that makes of the artificial mound. Four chimneys were built to decorate Amisan in 1869 without showing any utilitarian function, but it does not affect it was known as one of the masterpieces of art construction in the Joseon Dynasty. The chimneys were registered as the No.811 National Treasure of South Korea.
How to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace
Line 3, get off at Gyeongbokgung Station, exit 5
Line 5, get off at Gwanghwamun Gate Station, exit 2