When watching historical K-dramas, I used to wonder why it takes so much effort for the king and queen to see each other. Or why it takes a long time for the prince to save a servant from an evil plot.
Then I entered the Gyeongbokgung Palace and realized it’s not just one huge structure, not even mini structures joined together. The palace is made up of different gates, courts, halls, quarters, pavilions, walls and bridges — all scattered across the wide grounds.
Look at how huge it is!
If I lived here in the olden times and meeting someone means walking a distance in my heavy hanbok (traditional Korean dress) or servants carrying me in a gama (enclosed chair carried by porters), then I’d rather stay in my own garden and blog. 🙂
Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)
Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is commonly called the Northern Palace. It means “palace greatly blessed by Heaven”. It was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty and remains the largest of the grand palaces of Korea.
Gwanghwamun is the main and largest gate of the palace. It roughly means “may the light of enlightenment blanket the world”. This symbolizes the dedication that the people had in creating a new dynasty.
GUARD CEREMONIES & PERFORMANCES
The palace has different gate performances: the Royal Guard Changing Ceremony, the Guard-on-Duty Performance and the Gatekeeper Military Training. The reenactments of the ancient ceremonies are done by guards in their uniforms, weapons, and accessories.
If you’re a tourist and you came late for the ceremony, this is what you’ll see…
But yey for you if you’re a tourist with a GoPro!
Heungnyemun is the second inner gate into the palace located just past the main gate.
Geunjeongjeon Hall is the Throne Hall where the king granted audiences to his officials, presided over large official functions and met foreign envoys.
The king’s throne…
Sajeongjeon Hall is the king’s main executive office where he carried out his royal duties and held meetings with top government officials.
Gangnyeongjeon Hall is the king’s main living quarters and resting area. Here he met with his entourage to discuss daily activities, state affairs, and office duties.
Located behind the king’s quarters is the queen’s main residence, Gyotaejeon Hall.
Standing over a peaceful pond, the Gyeonghoeru Pavilion was once used for entertainment when important foreign visitors visited the palace.
For me, this is one of the most breathtaking sceneries in the palace. Though you can’t go in, just looking at it from a distance creates a calming effect inside you.
It made me want to sit down and think about life’s origin, meaning, morality, and destiny. 🙂
Jibokjae is the king’s two-storey private library. The name is translated as the “Hall of collecting Jade”.
While other structures in the palace are in traditional Korean design, this building shows a unique and heavy influence of Chinese architecture.
This is my favorite spot of all. It’s so enchanting!
The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, meaning “Pavilion of far-reaching fragrance”, is a two-story hexagonal pavilion built on a small artificial island in the middle of a lake.
There was so much more to see and do in the palace but we didn’t have all day. Still, I am grateful for the chance to visit history and walk the steps of the ancient royal family.
If you were to be born in the Joseon Dynasty, who would you want to be? Me, I’d want to be a renegade royal guard. Haha. What about you?
Words in italics are not mine.
MY HAB KOREA EXPERIENCE
|National Folk Museum of Korea||Korean Folk Village – The Experience|
|Gyeongbokgung Palace||Korean Folk Village – Performances|
|3 Tips to enjoy Gyeongbokgung Palace||Korean Folk Village – Joseon Torture|
|King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun Shin||Korean Folk Village – Drama Locations|
|Gwanghamun Square||Korean Folk Village – 3 Tips to Enjoy|
|Korea Ginseng Chicken Soup||Review of HaB Korea Tours|