All the Palaces including Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul were razed by the Japanese invasions (1592-1598). It was reconstructed in 1867 and some 330 buildings were built on a site of over 40 hectares. But it was largely torn down during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945), namely, ninety three percent of the restored buildings (36 buildings remaind).
* Open hours and Fee
- Nov to Feb: 09:00~17:00
- Mar to May, Sep to Oct: 09:00~18:00
- Jun to Aug 09:00~18:30
- Fee: KRW3,000
- Closed in Tue
- Japanese 10:00, 12:30, 14:30
- Chinese: 09:30, 11:00, 13:30, 16:30
- Subway: Line 3 Gyeonbokgung Station (transfer in Bulgwang Station from Eungam Station by Line 6) Entrance 5
- Bus: Get off Gyeongbokgung by No. 7022 from Eungam Station or No. 7212 from Shinheung Market
1. Palace Walls and Gates
A. Palace Walls
The east, south and west gates surrounding the palace were built in 1398, while the northern wall was constructed later, along with the north gate, Sinmumun Gate. The Palace walls basically formed a rectangle.
On the left and right side of the front were two watchtowers, Dongsibjagak and Seosibjagak.
B. Gwanghwamun Gate
Gwanghwamun Gate is the main gate of the main Palace. The king used the central arch, while the crown prince and officials entered through the openings on either side. The gate pavilion housed a bell, which announced the time of day.
C. Geonchunmum Gate
D. Yeongchumun Gate
The west gate means "autumn is welcomed." Complementing the name of Geonchunmun Gate in the east, Yeongchumun Gate was built to conform to the connotations implicit in the notions of "west" and "autumn." This gate was mainly used by civil and military court officials, in particular those who worked in the administrative buildings located in the west.
The north gate was erected after the northern wall was constructed. In 1475, this gate obtained the name Sinmumun Gate. Few people used the north gate, except when civil servants participated in rare gatherings to pledge alliance at a site located near the gate.
Officials of Rank 2 and above stood on the northern side of the bridge, while those of Rank 3 and below lined up on the south side. Only the king used the central path, while the crown prince and officials walked through the paths on either side.
3. Geunjeongjeon Hall Compound
Geunjeongjeon Hall (meaning of "diligence helps governance") is the Throne Hall, where the king granted audiences to his officials, presided over large official functions and met foreign envoys. There is a spacious courtyard in front, where important events were held and corridors enclose it.
* Sajeong implies: "One gains if one thinks of the ways of the world, but loses if one does not think of them. Unless the king thinks deeply and examines carefully, he cannot distinguish right from wrong. He must ponder more deeply."
Gangnyeongjeon Hall is the king's living quarters and Gyotaejeon Hall is for the queen.
This compound was where the crown prince lived with the crown princess, while he was in training for the throne. The Crown Prince's Compound consisted of two main buildings Jaseondang and Bihyeongak.
8. Heumgyeonggak and Hamwonjeon
Buildings near the Inner Court served the needs of the royal household. Many of his scientific inventions, including the rain gauge, sundial and water clock, as well as instruments for astronomical observation, were installed in Heumgyeonggak. Hamwonjeon, a building used for Buddhist events, is also believed to have been built during King Sejong’s reign.
9. Hyangwonji Pond and Hyangwonjeong Pavilion
10.Taewonjeon Hall Shrine
To the northwest of Gyeongbokgung Palace are various shrines, including Binjeon, Honjeon Hall and Yeongjeon. Binjeon Hall was where the caskets of the royal deceased were laid soon after their deaths. Honjeon Hall was where their mortuary tablets were housed for two years until they were sent to Jongmyo, the Royal Ancestral Shrine. Yeongjeon Hall displayed portraits of the deceased and rites were held in front of these images. Taewonjeon Hall Shrine held the portrait of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Later, it was used for other purposes, such as housing mortuary tablets and performing rites for the deceased.
11. Geoncheonggung Residence
The first electric lights in the Palace were installed here. In 1895, a group of Japanese assassins raided this residence and slaughtered Queen Myeongseong, King Gojong's wife. She died in Okhoru, the high veranda of Gonnyeonghap.
12. Jibokjae, Hyeopgildang and Parujeong Halls