Built in 1935, Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁, 景福宮), or Gyeongbok Palace, was the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty and is the largest of the five royal palaces in Seoul, South Korea. Gyeongbokgung, also known as the Northern Palace, was given its name meaning “The Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven”.
During the beginning of the Joseon Dynasty, the capital of Korea was moved from Gaseong to Seoul (known as Hanyang in this period) upon the palace’s completion. Gyeongbukgung was then at the heart of Seoul and is the first of the five palaces to have been built in the capital city.
Gyeongbokgung continued to serve as the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty until the grounds were destroyed by fire during Japanese raids in the Imjin War (1592-1598). After Gyeongbokgung burned down, Changdeokgung Palace was rebuilt and would serve as the new main palace.
Gyeongbokgung would remain abandoned for almost three centuries (273 years) before reconstruction of the palace would begin. In 1867, under the orders of the Palace Prince Regent Heungseon, Gyeongbokgung Palace was rebuilt on a grand scale and was considerably expanded.
The palace was then demolished again during Japanese occupation in the early 1900s as Gyeongbokgung was a symbol of Korean national sovereignty. In 1915, more than 90% of the palace buildings were demolished.
Since then, efforts to restore the palace to its former glory have been ongoing since 1990. At the end of 2009, the Gyeongbokgung was estimated to have about 40% of its buildings that were destroyed during Japanese occupation restored.
The Korean Government has set a goal for phase two of the palace’s restoration to be completed by 2030. By the end of 2030, the Korean Government hopes to restore 76% of the original palace structures.
*Free admission: Toddlers (ages 6 and younger), senior citizens (ages 65 and older). Those wearing hanbok and those who visit on the last Wednesday of every month are also granted free admission to the Palace.
*Closed on Tuesdays
Take the subway line 3 and get off at exit 5 at Gyeongbokgung Station.
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