Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace is also known as the winter palace and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city of Seoul in South Korea. The palace has been well-reserved and reconstructed a few times over the years, but it offers a great little escape into pre-modern Korea and shows you what life was like under the rule of the old Kingdoms.

Gwanghwamun Plaza

Before entering the palace, you will step onto the plaza which was built as part of the city’s urban reconstruction plan in 2009. The plaza commemorates the history of Korea and two key figures that have contributed greatly to that history.

In summer you can see the amazing fountain where kids love to play and run through the water to escape the city heat. The fountain was built to commemorate the victory against the Japanese war with 12 battleships at sea led by Admiral Yi Sun Sin. You can see his statue situated at the fountain.

 

Further down is a giant bronze statue of the famous King Sejong, the king who introduced Hangul, The Korean alphabet, over 500 years ago. He was also well known for his contribution to education, science and technology to the country.

 

 The Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of 5 grand palaces built, and is also known as the Winter Palace. The palace was originally build and designed by the first king of the Joseon Dynasty King Taejo in 1395 to serve as the main headquarters for the king and his court. It has been destroyed twice by invaders with fire and rebuilt twice since.


Geongjeonjun Hall: The entrance

 

 You will meet many guards dressed in traditional uniforms surrounding the main entrance gate. In fact, they still carry out the ‘changing of the guard’ routine every day.

This hall was used by the king to grant an audience with officials to receive foreign envoys, ambassadors and to give out important declarations. There are 3 separate entrances, as one entrance was made only for the king to enter through.

Gyeonghero Pavilion

The beautiful pavilion is situated upon a small lake surrounded by the gardens. This was used for very important events and banquets. To reach the pavilion, you must cross the bridges that go from 3 sides and it is built on a stone foundation on the lake.

Both winter and summer offer exquisite views:

 

Hwanwanjeon Pagoda

This pretty little pagoda is situated on top of a man-made lake, and is connected by bridges leading to the rest of the palace. It was a place to relax and enjoy the views. It’s situated around many beautiful flowers and this pagoda is known as “The Pagoda of Far Reaching Fragrances”. These fragrance can only be experienced during summer and spring of course.

 

The Architecture 

During its last reconstruction many little details to the original building have been left out. The last restoration began in the late 1980s, and a lot of work and archaeological research went into reconstructing the building into its original grandeur.

The buildings are all constructed of wood and stone, and this made it vulnerable to being easily destroyed by fire. After the first Japanese invasion that caused fire, the palace stood in ruins and uninhabited for more than 300 years.

You will also see these little guys all over the palace. These little stone sculptures are of mythical and real creatures and are simply there to decorate the palace.

 

 

5 Fun things to do at Gyeongbokgung:

1. There is a little traditionally decorated tea café just as you  enter the palace grounds to the left.
 

2. Dress up like a palace guard! It’s for free too. Yay!

 

3. Visit the zodiac gardens situated behind the Gyenghero Pavillion,  where you’ll see stone statues of all 12 Chinese zodiac signs and    a wheel on the ground.

 

4. Visit the Folk National Museum at the exit. It’s full of fun artifacts  of life in Korea dating hundreds of years ago, even before the  various dynasties started.

5. The Folk Museum also has a traditional Korean village on the outside premises. You get to walk into  a traditional Korean home and full decorated interior of what the  typical traditional abode looked like. As you walk on you can also  see how the country has begun modernisation and industrialisation  over the centuries.

The palace is conveniently located in Seoul’s centre and is can be reached by all forms of transport. 
Entrance fee: $5/5000 Won
Website: http://www.royalpalace.go.kr/html/eng/main/main.js
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Anyeonghaseyo,
Bee

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