Last Updated on 22.07.2023 by Iliyan
Visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul is super easy. Being one of the most popular tourist attractions in Korea, the palace hosts millions of tourists every year.
The founder of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) – King Taejo has made Seoul capital more than 600 years ago. The location is considered to be ideal, thanks to the Theory of Geomancy, with mountains on the north and a river on the south. Also, the city was situated strategically around the middle of the Korean peninsula. The beautiful and lively capital is growing quickly in the modern-day times but the tradition and the modernity live together harmoniously. Traditionally, it serves as the residence for the king and his family, as well as a seat of the government. Thanks to that, there are five large palaces in the capital: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Changgyeonggung, Deoksugung and Gyeonghuigung. The royal palaces in Seoul embody Joseon’s ideology, which puts an emphasis on naturalness and decency, virtue and temperance.
Gyeongbokgung Palace History
Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395 by King Taejo in the heart of Seoul surrounded by the Bugaksan and Namsan mountains. Through the years, Gyeongbokgung Palace was continuously expanded during the reign of King Taejong and King Sejong the Great. During the time of the Japanese invasion, the palaces have been destroyed completely, but it was fully renovated later on. Nowadays, the restoration still continues in order to bring back its glory.
Situated north from the Gwanghwamun square, it is one of the most emblematic attractions in Seoul, thanks to its amazing history. Undoubtedly, the palace is the most beautiful and the largest one of all five palaces in Seoul.
Here you can enjoy the background of the majestic architecture and rich culture. It is amazing how Seoul has managed to keep this heritage. This huge complex looks like a little town with many buildings, small gardens and streets. It resembles the Forbidden City in Beijing in terms of architecture.
Best Places Inside Gyeongbokgung Palace
There are many sites to visit while you are visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Gwanghwamun Gate is an impressive main gate of the Gyeongbokgung Palace. The gate has been renovated many times through the years but it still remains the icon of Seoul. During the time of the Joseon dynasty, it quickly became one of the most important gates because it used to guard the main palace.
Heungnyemun Gate is the second one in the Gyeongbokgung. It is situated immediately after Gwanghwamun Gate.
Visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace is not complete without experiencing the Geunjeongjeon Hall. It is the main throne hall, and it was used for coronation. Literally it means that “all deeds will be correctly managed if your highness shows diligence”. It is the place where the king formally granted audiences to his officials.
Geoncheonggung Residence is a private residence built by King Gojong in 1873. He used to live there from 1888 and simultaneously expanded it until October 8, 1895, when his wife – Empress Myeongseong – was brutally assassinated by Japanese agents. Her dead body was burned and buried next to the residence. So the king left the palace and never returned.
One of the most beautiful views in the palace is located nearby a small, calm lake. The pavilion is sometimes used for entertainment of highly-ranked foreign visitors.
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion was built in 1412 during the reign of King Taejong, but in 1592 it was burned down during the Japanese invasion of Korea. The current building was built in 1867 on an artificial island surrounded by a rectangular lake.
National Folklore Museum
Inside the same complex can also be found the national folklore museum. It has two parts – an open one and closed one but I only saw the open one. The expositions show how the common people used to live and the traditions at the time when the country was an agricultural one.
Do not miss out to see the ceremony for the change of the guards of the complex. This is performed at the beginning of every hour from 11:00 to 15:00 o’clock.
How to go to Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeongbokgung Palace is situated in northern Seoul, and it is very easy to get there from anywhere in the city. You can take a taxi, bus or subway.
- Gyeongbokgung Station, Subway Line № 3, Exit #5
- Gwanghwamun Station, Subway Line № 5, Exit #2
Gyeongbokgung Palace Entrance Fee
- Combined ticket for all palaces: Changdeokgung Palace (включително Huwon Secret Garden), Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine: 10,000 ₩
- Adults: 3,000 ₩
- Children from 7 to 18: 1,500 ₩