I love the vibrant atmosphere of Seoul, the melding of tradition and innovation. An area I feel that exemplifies this most is Gyeongbokgung Palace. Located in the thriving city, this palace preserves Korean history in a beautiful way.
Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁 is an elaborate palace from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910), built under King Taejo. It is the largest and most northern of the Five Grand Palaces of the Joseon dynasty, serving as the main palace until it was destroyed by fire in the 1500s during the Imjin War.
During the 19th century, the palace was restored during the under King Gojong, only to be destroyed again during the Japanese occupation of the early 1900s.
The ornate palace stands in front of Mount Bugak. It’s amazing to see the beauty of nature contrasting with the thriving city of Seoul behind it.
Gwanghwamun Gate is the main entrance to the palace. At this gate, as well as within the palace walls, visitors can watch the traditional changing of the guard ceremony (수문장 교대의식). The guards are traditionally known as Wanggung Sumunjang. The ceremony takes place every day except Tuesday (times are listed below).
The name Gwanghwamun roughly translates to“may the light of enlightenment blanket the world,” representing dedication of the people to the new Joseon Dynasty. It was orignially constructed all from granite, and at its center is an entrance that resembles a rainbow, called Hongyemun. The marble was replaced with concrete during the
Geunjeongjeon Hall is where the king formally granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations, and greeted foreign ambassadors. This hall was designated as Korea’s National Treasure No. 223 in 1985.
All of the walls and ceiling are very intricately painted; it is really such a beautiful place.
The palace walls contain the Outer Court (oejeon), offices for the king and state officials, and the Inner Court (naejeon), including living quarters for the royal family and lovely gardens. The Junggung (the Queen`s residence) and Donggung (the Crown prince’s residence) are also within the palace.
Hae-taes, Korean mythological creatures, stand at the corners of the palace to offer protection.
The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located on the eastern side within Hyangwonjeong.
I consider this palace a must-see in Korea, and its location in Seoul makes it very accessible. This beautiful place really brought Korean culture alive for me, and I hope it does the same for all of you that visit.
XOXO, Seoulmate ♥
Admission Fees (1,00 won~ 1 U.S. Dollar)
Adults (ages 25-64): 3,000 won / Groups (10 people or more): 2,400 won
Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Groups (10 people or more): 2,400 won
Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Groups (10 people or more): 1,200 won
Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony
10:00, 14:00 / 20 minutes per ceremony
Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance
11:00, 13:00 / 10 minutes per ceremony
Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training (outside Hyeopsaengmun Gate)