Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeongbokgung Palace

Our first destination on our list here in South Korea is the Gwanghwamun Square.

Getting Here:

  • Gyeongbokgung Station (subway line 3) exits 6,7 in the direction of KEB bank
  • Gwanghwamun Station (subway line 5) exits 1, 2, 8
  • City Hall Station (subway line 1) exit 3, walk past Deoksugung Palace and keep walking in the direction of the Koreana hotel

Gwanghwamun Square

The Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin was erected at the front of Gwanghwamun Square on April 27, 1968, in honor of the brave spirit and leadership of the Admiral. At 17 meters tall, the bronze statue stands firmly with a sword in his right hand, representing protection and patriotism. In front of the statue is a miniature turtle ship that the Admiral built, and at each front corner are two drums that were used to increase the morale of soldiers going to the battlefield.

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King Sejong Statue (세종대왕 동상)  was erected at the center of Gwanghawmun Square on Hangeul Day (October 9) of 2009. Sitting with a gentle smile on his face and a book in his hand, the bronze statue of 9.5m in height celebrates the King and his great achievements.

In front of the statue lie a celestial globe, a rain gauge, and a sundial, all of which King Sejong invented himself during his reign. Behind the statue, there are six columns with golden carvings depicting the King’s major accomplishments, as well as an underground passage to the ‘Sejong’s Story’ exhibition hall. Surrounding the statue, on the edges of the Square, is the ‘Waterway of History,’ a stream flowing on tiles with inscriptions of Korean history.

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Gyeongbokgung Palace

At the end of the Gwanghwamun Square, we see the Gyeongbokgung Palace gates. We just crossed the road to get there.

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Admission 

Adults (ages 19-64): 3,000 won / Groups (10 people or more): 2,400 won
Children (ages 7-18): 1,500 won / Groups (10 people or more): 1,200 won

Closed  on Tuesdays

Address

161, Sajik-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

서울특별시 종로구 사직로 161 (세종로)

Operating Hours 

November-February 09:00-17:00
March-May 09:00-18:00
June-August 09:00-18:30
September-October 09:00-18:00

Interpretation Services Offered
Tours depart from in front of the information center at Heungnyemun Gate (흥례문).
– Duration: About 1 hr-1 hr 30 min
– Tour Schedule
English: 11:00, 13:30, 15:30
Japanese: 10:00, 12:30, 14:30
Chinese: 10:30, 12:30, 14:00, 16:00

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Once we arrived at the gates, We were just in time for the Royal Guard-Changing Ceremony. It is a great opportunity to experience a rare traditional scene in South Korea.

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In ancient times, the royal guards of Joseon Dynasty performed the given task by guarding the Gwanghwamun Gate, the entrance of Gyeongbokgung Palace where the king ruled the country. Since 1469, the ceremony has taken place and its record has been consulted for the present reenactment ceremony.

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The reenactment of the original ceremony began from 1996. The gate guardsmen serve their sentry, perform the changing of the guards, and hold a parade. The guards’ uniforms, weapons, and accessories as well as their strict ceremonial procedures catch the eyes of everyone there. A great opportunity to witness a piece of south Korea’s traditions and culture.

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Performance Times

Sumunjang (Royal Guard) Changing Ceremony
10:00, 14:00 / 20 minutes per ceremony
Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance
11:00, 13:00 / 10 minutes per ceremony
Sumungun (Gatekeeper) Military Training (outside Hyeopsaengmun Gate)
09:30, 13:30 / 15 minutes per ceremony

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Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Built in 1395, it is located in northern SeoulSouth Korea. The largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings’ households, as well as the government of Joseon.

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Once we arrived at the palace we seen a lot of tourist wearing Korea’s traditional outfit, the  Hanbok. There are a lot of  Hanbok Rental Shops around outside the palace gates. What a great way to explore the past of South Korea wear something from it’s past too.

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Geunjeongjeon Hall, is the throne hall where the king formally granted audiences to his officials, gave declarations of national importance, and greeted foreign envoys and ambassadors during the Joseon dynasty.[7] The building was designated as Korea’s National Treasure No. 223 on January 8, 1985.

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We arrived in South Korea when spring just started and only a few of plants just bloomed. We’re still happy to see some of the first blooms of spring in the palace. Had a fun time taking photos of the palace’s flowers.

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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, is a hall used to hold important and special state banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. It is registered as Korea’s National Treasure No. 224 on January 8, 1985.

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I will come back again here when I return to South Korea, haven’t fully roamed the whole complex of the palace and also wishing by the time I’m back it will be Autumn or spring with full bloom of flowers.

Thank you for reading my first blog post of my South Korean trip. This is just part 1 of 3 for my day 1. More posts coming soon!.

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