A fast paced, modernist, emerging new world city, Seoul in Korea is a dynamic financial, political, and cultural hub. Though making massive strides into modernity, Seoul still retains and is proud of its rich heritage, culture and history. One place which embodies all of this is the Gyeongbok Palace.
Gyeongbok Palace also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace which translates into English as the Palace of Shining Happiness. Built in 1394 originally by King Taejo who was the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbok Palace is one of the 5 grand palaces built by this dynasty. It served as the ruling seat for many an emperor until the 20th century when it was unfortunately almost completely destroyed by the Japanese invasion.
However the palace complex is being renewed over a 40 year initiative, to its old regal splendour.
This symbol of majesty for the Korean nation originally housed around 300 buildings. Of these only around 10 remained following its destruction by the Japanese.
One of the buildings that remained (and were restored in the eighteen hundreds) was the Keunjeong – jeon. Built on a double level platform, this is Korea’s largest surviving wooden structure and served as the royal throne room, which witnessed various official functions as well as state affairs and received foreign envoys.
The Chagyong-jon was where the Dowager Queen Cho lived and is the only surviving structure which houses a bedroom.
The Kyeonghoe-ru is a large pavilion built as an open air banquet hall where the King entertained his visitors. Built on a man made lotus pond, this 48 pillared pavilion is still used today for special functions.
This historic monument of ancient Korean culture is a must visit for any traveller to Seoul. English tours of the palace compound take place thrice daily. If you seek accommodation in Seoul from which to base yourself to explore this wonderful city, a serviced residence Seoul such as the Somerset Palace is ideal with its range of accommodations which whilst providing you with every possible comfort will also make you feel right at home.