One of the first places I visited in Seoul was Gyeongbokgung. Classical Korean architecture wasn’t entirely new to me as the Center for Korean Studies at my alma mater, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is actually a gorgeous recreation of Korean palaces. In fact, Kyongbok Palace in Seoul provided the design inspiration for the buildings at UHM and some of the hotels in Seoul. So Gyeongbokgung Palace sort of felt like a place I used to go watch films on Thursday nights and take Indonesian martial arts courses on Sunday mornings.
Still, Gyeongbok Palace, located in northern Seoul is a far more impressive structure and complex than I’d ever seen in the Korean style. The palace was built in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867 and is the largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty.
Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as “Palace of Shining Happiness.” Certainly I saw lots of shining happiness from visitors during the changing of the guard ceremonies.
It is called the“Northern Palace” because it is the furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeongheegung (Western Palace). It contains 7,700 rooms and the remains of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoe-ru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond.
The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located east within Hyangwonjeong. I’ll write more about those later along with more pictures for you.
Admission Price : 3,000 South Korean Won (about $3) includes the National Folk Museum and National Palace Museum – Free walking tours available.
I’ve got tons more pictures, but for now, this will have to do. Have you been here? What did you think?
As always, if you are heading to South Korea and want to ask anything about it, the travel advice is free for the asking or you might find the links below to be helpful.