Gyeongbokgung PalaceOriginally built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest and greatest of Seoul’s Five Grand Palaces. Burned down during the Japanese invasion of 1592, it was reconstructed in 1867. Today, the palace grounds, filled with lotus ponds, gardens, and ornate statues, offer a lovely place to spend the afternoon. Don’t miss the Throne Hall, the Royal Banquet Hall, and Hyangwonjeong, a two-story pavilion on a small island in the center of a pond. And remember to stand under the palace roof and look up—you’ll be dazzled by the intricate patterns of red, blue, and green painted on the eaves.
Dance and history on a summer afternoon
Palace Hopping in Korea's Capital
Palace of Shining Happiness
A Bustling City in the Land of Morning Calm
looking back at time
Girls In Hahn Bohk
shoes off for tea...
Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance
Through the Gate...Living History in Seoul
Marching Colors—the Changing of the Guard
When to go: Gyeongbokgung Palace
A Walk Through History, and Some Strange Statues
Palace lake pavilion
This “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven” was once the heart of Korea. It was the power center of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897), and was originally built in 1395—some new digs for a new dynasty. Like the Forbidden City in Beijing, the palace is a complex of buildings—a throne hall, the king’s living quarters and more—a sort of city inside a city, accented by gardens and pavilions. The Japanese flattened the place in the 1590s, and the site remained a ruin until a complete reconstruction in 1867 brought back more than 500 buildings. At the Gwanghwamun Gate, soldiers, beautifully costumed in red robes, still perform the changing of the guard. Seoul has other palaces, but this is the one to see if your time in town is limited.