There are several palaces in Seoul because Seoul (Hanyang) was the capital of the Lee Dynasty which is also called Josun. Of all the palaces, Gyungbok Palace is the most important. The kings of Josun lived in the Gyungbok Palace.
The Gyungbok Palace was a built in a very good fengshui site. It is about 5.4 million square feet. Originally it was built by the first king of Josun in 1395. In 1592, it was burned because of the war with Japan. In 1865, it was rebuilt.
Gyungbok can be literally translated as the “Wish for a great blessing.” Inside of the Gyungbok Palace, there are a number of buildings.
There are four gates to get inside Gyungbok Palace. The most important gate is on the south and is called the Gwuanghwa Moon. Gwuanghwa Moon means “The greatest virtue of the king will shine all over the country.”
The most important building of the Gyungbok Palace is the Geunjung Jun. This is where the king greeted the foreign ambassador and held official ceremonies. Inside the Geunjung Jun, there is the king’s chair. In front of Geunjung Jun, there are eighteen rectangular stones that are lined up which means the king’s officials based on their rank. Higher rank stood nearer to the king.
Behind the Geunjung Jun is the Sajung Jun which is where the king worked. There is also another building called the Gangnyung Jun which is where the king slept. Next to the Gangnyung Jun is the Gyotae Jun. This is where the queen stayed. On the back end of the Gyotae Jun is the queen’s garden. Its name is the Ahmi San. In the garden, there are four hexagonal chimneys that have beautiful illustrations on them. This made them not only functional but also a masterpiece. It is one of Korea’s national treasures.
Northwest of the Geunjungjun, there is a pond. In the middle of the pond, they built Gyunghoiloo. This is where the king held a festival. It is a two-story building and probably the biggest pavilion of Josun.
There is a palace inside of the Gyungbok Palace. It is called the Gunchung Goong. This is the house where King Gojong and Queen Myungsung lived. In the Gunchung Goong, Queen Myungsung was killed by Japan’s ninjas. Structurally, the Gunchung Goong is very similar to an ordinary house of a nobleman in Josun. Today, it is said to be most beautiful Korean traditional house.
In front of the Gunchung Goong, there is a octagonal pavilion named Hyangwonjung. This place was only for the king and his family.