Wongudan Altar is where the emperor would perform sacrifices to heaven. The altar was built in 1897 and since then has been known as Hwangudan and Wondan. The complex was built during the reign of Emperor Gojong and was designed by Sim Uiseok, at the time, one of the best royal architects.
This shrine also held memorial tablets of the gods of Heaven.
Hwangungu (Yellow Palace Shrine) is a three story octagonal shrine that was built in 1899 for worshiping heaven and King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty.
Most of the complex was dismantled by the Japanese in 1913 during the early days of their occupation of Korea. The land was used to build the Joseon Gyeongseong Railroad Hotel.
Only Hwangungu and the intricate stone drums remain today.
Being located on the grounds of Westin Chosun Hotel makes this hidden gem very easy to miss. It is often bypassed by tourists that have no idea it exists. Nearby is Deoksugung Palace and Seoul Plaza, just outside the front gate of Wongudan Altar.
These three large plaster stone drums located next to Hwangudan Altar (Wongudan Altar) are similar to those once used as instruments during offerings and sacrifices to heaven. The drums were set up in 1902 for the 40th anniversary of Emperor Gojong’s (1852-1919) ascension to the throne.
Gojong held power from 1863 to 1907 and was the 26th and final king of the Joseon Dynasty. He was also the first emperor of the Great Korean Empire (Daehan Empire).
If you look closely, you can find intricate dragon patterns carved in relief into the sides. These dragon designs are some of the best examples of late Joseon Dynasty sculptures and art at the time.
HwangudanAltar is located on the grounds of the Westin Chosun.
Take Subway Line 1 or Line 2 to City Hall Station (Exit 6 or 7).