Gwanghwamun Gate is the imposing main gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The gate has been rebuilt many times over the years but remains an icon of Seoul. There are three other gates that can be found along the 2,404 meters (7,887 feet) of walls surrounding the palace. The other three gates are Sinmumun, Geonchunmun, and Yeongchumun.
Construction began in 1395 at the beginning of the Joseon dynasty. It quickly became one of the most important gates of the Joseon Dynasty since it guarded the main palace.
The gate consists of three entrances and a two story pavilion. At one time, it was guarded by watchtowers.
In 1592, the gate was destroyed by the Japanese during their invasion of Korea during Imjin War. In 1867, almost 250 years later, it was reconstructed along with Gyeongbokgung Palace.
In 1926, the Japanese who occupied Korea at the time, moved Gwanghwamun near the location of the present day National Folk Museum of Korea. They did this to make room for the new Japanese Governor General Building.
During the Korean War, the wooden gatehouse was destroyed once again. It was rebuilt using concrete and remained this way until 2006.
In December 2006, work began to restore Gwanghwamun to its original wooden specifications. This restoration work paid close attention to historical accuracy and location. On August 15, 2010, restoration was completed at a cost of 28 billion won ($24 million).Read more about other gates in Seoul.
Gwanghwamun is located at the entrance to Gyeongbokgung.
Take Subway Line 3 to Gyeongbokgung Station (Exit 5).
Take Subway Line 5 to Gwanghwamun Station (Exit 2).
The gate is free to view and walk through. The palace requires a ticket to enter.