Gyeonghuigung Palace (경희궁) Really is the Serene One

If you haven't had enough of history yet after visiting the Seoul Museum of History, head over to Gyeonghuigung Palace, which is just a stone's throw away from the museum.

Gyeonghuigung is one of the five grand palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. It does not get as much attention as the other 4 palaces, and is the only one that does not charge admission (it is not included in the Integrated Ticket of Palaces). It's a good thing that it doesn't get much hype because its name Gyeonghui literally means 'serene harmony' and we want it to remain that way.

Heunghwamun refers to the front gate of Gyeonghuigung Palace. Originally, it faced east and was located on the site of the current Salvation Army building. In 1932, the Japanese removed this gate from its original site in order to use it as the front gate for Bangmunsa, a shrine established to honor Ito Hirobumi, the first Resident-General of Joseon during the Japanese occupation. Heunghwamun was finally moved to this site in 1988.

The stone-paved courtyard is lined with two rows of rank stones, called pumgyeseoks (품계석), indicating where the court officials are to stand according to their ranks.

This is the main gate of Gyeonghuigung Palace, which was constructed in 1618. Here, kings met with their subjects in the morning and arranged official ceremonies, such as royal feast for foreign diplomats. Gyeongjeong (the 20th king), Jeongjo (the 22nd king) and Heonjong (the 24th king) all held their inauguration ceremonies in here. However, the Imperial Japan damaged Gyeonghuigung Palace and sold the building for Sungjeongjeon in 1926 to Jogyesa. This currently remains as Jeonggagwon in Dongguk University. The current Sungjeongjeon is a restored one.

Originally called Wangam, Seoam refers to the rock located behind Taeryeongjeon. It is famous for its unique shape and a natural fountain called Amcheon, which flows within the rock. Its name is attributed to a common saying that Gwanghaegun had established Gyeonghuigung Palace here. In 1708 (34th year of King Sukjong), it was renamed as Seoam and King Sukjong wrote the name ‘Seo-am’ in Chinese characters in person and had them engraved on a stone in a grand fashion. However, the stone named ‘Sabangseok’ where the name ‘Seo-am’ was engraved is nowhere to be found.

Exhibition of the life in the palace

It contains the king’s private living room. Jajeongjeon was constructed during 1671-1620. The kings held meetings with their subjects and supervised academic competitions here. When King Sukjong died, it was used as a binjeon (a royal palace where the coffin of a king or a queen was preserved before a funeral) and the eojin (royal portrait) or memorial table of late kings were temporarily preserved here too. The Imperial Japan demolished the place and the municipal government of Seoul discovered and verified the area. The current building was restored according to the Seogwoldoan (sketches of the western palace).

Originally, there was no designated use for this structure. But in 1744, the 20th year of King Yeongjo’s rule, a renovation was undertaken and the king’s portrait was given a special place of its own. Although the building was completely removed by the Imperial Japan, it was restored back in 2000 with a five-sectioned front and two-sectioned sides based on what the Seogwoldoan (sketches of the western palace) describes. The hanging tablet in front was created by aggregating the letters of Seok-Bong Han.

This bridge was found on a stream called Geumcheon that flows between the front gate of Gyeonghuigung Palace and its front bridge. In order to ward off evil spirits from the palace, a goblin was engraved on the rainbow-shaped post that supports the bridge. It was originally built in 1619 and buried by the Imperial Japan, but the municipal government of Seoul restored it in 2001.

Official site:


  1. If I ever go to Korea the palaces would be the places I would love to visit. Especially since I love sageuks so much that because of them I go and look up the history behind them.



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