The First Palace of the Joseon Dynasty, in Central Hanyang
Built in 1395 as a residential palace, Gyeongbokgung Palace was the first palace of the Joseon Dynasty. The palace was situated in the heart of ancient Seoul (called Hanyang), and has Bugaksan Mountain behind it to the north, and Yukjo Boulevard (present day Sejong-daero) sprawling forth from Gwanghwamun, its main gate.
The Geunjeongjeon Hall is the primary structure of the palace and was where the king presided over his subjects. Its name signifies 'diligence helps governance', and as the most solemn and central structure, symbolizes royal authority.
In addition to the main hall, the palace contains various buildings where the king, his foreign envoys and administrators took care of the daily affairs of the kingdom, where the royal family and their attendants lived and worked, as well as gardens and other structures for leisure. The appearance of the palace has varied greatly throughout the ages. Around the time of King Gojong when the palace was reconstructed, over 500 buildings filled the complex like a labyrinth, including separate palaces for the queen and the crown prince, Geoncheonggung Residence, Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, and more.
The Ancient Poetry of the Four Gates
The walls that surround Gyeongbokgung Palace measure 2,404m in length, 5m average in height, and 2m in thickness. There are four gates in each direction of the palace, and they were named in 1426 (eighth year of King Sejong) as: Geonchunmun (建春門-east), Gwanghwamun (光化門-south), Yeongchumun (迎秋門-west), and finally Sinmumun (神武門-north).
These names signify spring-summer-fall-winter, and wood-fire-metal-water respectively, and originate from the Korean traditional ideology of five elements. The Geunjeongjeon Hall stands right at the center of the walls.
Changing of the Guard Ceremony
The guards of the Joseon Dynasty were in charge of protecting Gwanghwamun Gate, the main gates into Gyeongbokgung Palace, as well as Heunginjimun, Sungnyemun and other gates surrounding the palace and the capital city.
The schedules for the Changing of the Guard Ceremony and other related events can be consulted online at the website of the Korea Cultural Heritage Foundation (www.chf.or.kr). Or you may call them at 02-3210-1645.
※ Gyeongbokgung Palace is closed every Tuesday.
※ The Discover Seoul Pass does not include nighttime openings of the palace.
January, February: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
March, April, May: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
June, July, August: 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
September, October: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
November, Decmber: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- Last admission one hour prior to closing.
Adult 3,000 KRW / Children(7 ~ 18) 1,500 KRW