Gyeongbokgung Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces anywhere and the grounds are vast. My photos could not do justice to just how big everything is or even capture the entire palace. The grounds also house the National Palace Museum of Korea, the National Folk Museum of Korea and traditional Korean gardens.
History of Gyeongbokgung Palace:
Gyeongbokgung Palace was built in 1395, three years after the Joseon Dynasty was founded by King Taejo. It served as it's main palace until 1592, when it was burned down during the Japanese Invasions.
The palace was left derelict until being rebuilt in 1867 under the leadership of Prince Regent Heungseon. He reconstructed a markedly different palace and some 500 buildings were built on a site of over 40 hectares.
In the early 20th century, much of the palace was destroyed by Imperial Japan who built an enormous building housing the Japanese Government General.
Since 1990, restoration efforts to fully restore Gyeongbokgung have been underway. The Japanese Government General Building was removed and the Heungnyemun Gate and the Gwanghwamun Gate were restored to their original states. The Royal Living Quarters and East Palace were also restored.
Even though the palace is still in the heart of Seoul, with many other attractions and the hustle and bustle of the city outside, it is a very peaceful place. And when I went last summer, it not crowded at all because of a Mers outbreak at the time in South Korea.
My personal favorites at Gyeongbokgung Palace were the Royal Guards and the vintage cars (at the Palace Museum) used by King Sunjong and his consort.
Definitely put Gyeongbokgung Palace on your bucket list!