Photo Essay: Korea’s Gyeongbokgung Palace

Throne Hall in Gyeongbokgung Palace.
The Throne Hall (or Main Hall) in Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea.

Gyeongbokgung, originally built in 1395, served as the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty. With roughly 7,700 rooms, it is the grandest and largest palace out of the five built by the Joseon Dynasty. It was destroyed by fire during the Japanese Invasion of 1592 and saw many reconstructions throughout the years afterwards, including a major restoration in 1990.

There are a total of 5 palaces in Seoul, so if you only have time for one, you won’t be disappointed choosing Gyeongbokgung. You can stroll through the palace grounds on your own or take one of the 3 free tours offered daily for more insight and historical details about the palace. It really is a beautiful palace and can look quite different depending on the season you’re visiting it.

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Gwanghwamun, the main outer gate of the palace.
Guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace
You'll regularly see guards standing in front of Heungnyemun, the second inner gate.
Geunjeongmun Gate
Cherry blossoms bloom infront of Geunjeongmun, the third inner gate.
The Throne Room of Gyeongbokgung
Inside the Throne Hall where the king granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations of national importance, and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors.
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, a hall used to hold important and special state banquets.
Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul
An inner alcove in the palace grounds.
Palaces in Seoul
Getting an up close look at the detail in the railings.
Doors in Gyeongbokgung Palace
If walking through doorways, be sure to watch your heads as they weren't built for tall people.
The beautiful Hyangwonjeong Pavilion was added in 1837 and built on an artificial pond.

What you need to know: The palace is open everyday except Tuesdays. Between March and October the operating hours are 9:00 to 18:00, and 9:00 to 17:00 between November and February. Admission costs 3,000won for adults (ages 19-64) and 1,500 for youths (ages 7-18). English spoken tours are offered 3 times a day: 11:00, 13:30, and 15:30.