Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul (must see)

Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 by the Joseon Dynasty. This impressive complex served as the Joseon Dynasty's main palace and is the largest of the Five Grand Palaces.

It was destroyed by fire during the Imjin War in 1592 and sat abandoned for over two centuries. In 1867, the palace was reconstructed with 330 buildings and 5,792 rooms. In 1895, Japanese agents assassinated Empress Myeongseong. Emperor Gojong, her husband, left the palace and never returned.

In the early 20th century, Japan's colonial government destroyed palace buildings and constructed the enormous Japanese General Government Building outside the throne hall.

Only a few 19th-century buildings survived the Japanese government and the Korean War. These buildings include Geunjeongjeon (the Imperial Throne Hall), Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, Sujeongjeon Hall, Jagyeongjeon Hall, Sajeongjeon Hall, and Jibokjae Hall.

In 1989, reconstruction began to restore the palace to its former glory. About 40 percent of the building have since been reconstructed or restored.

Geunjeongjeon, the Imperial Throne Hall, is truly impressive. Its constructed mainly of wood and sits in a courtyard lined with stones. Known as rank stones, they indicated where officials of different ranks could stand during ceremonies. The entire courtyard is cloistered.

Gyeongbokgung Palace features dozens of architecturally interesting buildings. Hyangwonjeong, a beautiful hexagonal pavilion, sits attractively on an island.

Why You Should Visit

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and grandest of the Five Grand Palaces. Visit the National Folk Museum of Korea on the palace grounds to learn about the history of the Korean people. The National Palace Museum of Korea is also located on the palace grounds and houses priceless 14th century Joseon dynasty treasures.

Tips

You can rent traditional costumes to immerse yourself in 14th-century royal Korea.

For a memorable experience, sign up for a night tour and see the palace lit up. Gyeonghoeru looks spectacular as its warm lights are reflected in the pond.

For a once in a lifetime experience, take part in a Gyeongbokgung Royal Dining event. Sample royal food and watch a traditional performance.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Seoul. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Gyeongbokgung Palace on Map

Sight Name: Gyeongbokgung Palace
Sight Location: Seoul, South Korea (See walking tours in Seoul)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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