Gyeongbokgung 경복궁 – Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven

11 Nov

Gyeongbokgung Palace 경복궁 is surrounded by 5 meters high and 2,404 meters long walls. They are pierced by four gates: from the east – Geonchunmun 근정문 (in the yin and yang concept, symbolizing spring and wood), south – Gwanghwamun 광화문 (symbolizing summer and fire), west – Yeongchumun 영추문 (symbolizing autumn and metal) and north – Sinmumun 신무문 (symbolizing winter and water). The main gate, Gwanghwamun, has 3 entrances and a 2-story pavilion.

The palace was built in 1395, and was the symbol of national sovereignty. It served as the main palace for more than 500 years before more than 90% of it has been reduced to ashes during the Japanese invasion of 1592. Restoration of Gyeongbokgung to its former glory has been ongoing since 1990. In 2007, restoration of Geoncheonggung has been completed, 3 years later – Gwanghwamun as well.

Yeongjegyo Bridge

Yeongjegyo Bridge

Yeongjegyo Bridge leads to the main throne hall of Gyeongbokgung, Geunjeongjeon. It has been restored to its original state in 2001. In the downright corner of the picture you can see an imaginary animal called Seosu.


Geunjeongjeon, the main throne hall

The name Geunjeongjeon means “all affairs will be properly managed if Your Majesty demonstrates diligence”. All meetings, receptions and coronation ceremony were conducted here.



In Sajeongjeon king held daily morning meetings with the officials. The series of small rooms in front of it were used to store private property of the royal household. Currently, there’s a coffee shop, a souvenir shop and hanbok experience center, where you can try on Korean traditional clothing completely for free, walk around and take pictures.


Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

Gyeonghoeru Pavilion was where the king threw formal banquets. The three bays at the center of the floor symbolize heaven, earth, and man, and the 12 bays around them the 12 months of the year.


Taewonjeon Shrine

Taewonjeon Shrine was built to house the portraits of preceding kings. Later, it was used as a royal coffin hall for deceased queens.



Jangandang is a part of Geongcheonggung, separate living quarters for the king and the qeen, built in 1873 by King Gojong. It was here where Queen Myeongseong was assassinated by the Japanese on October 8, 1895.



Hyangwonji is a square pond in the rear garden of the concubines’ quarters. It was created same time as Geongcheonggung.

How to get there:

Address: 161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161

Take subway line 3 and get off at Gyeongbokgung Palace Station (exit 5), or take subway line 5 and get off at Gwanghwamun Station (exit 2).

Operating hours:
March-October: 09:00-18:00
November-February: 09:00-17:00
*Gyeongbokgung is closed every Tuesday

The Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony is performed every day except Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 15:00 (6 times a day, on the hour) at the Gwanghwamun and Heungnyemun plazas.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: