Gyeonghuigung Palace, one of five grand palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty, served as a secondary royal villa for the king during daily excursions. It was also used as a place of shelter during times of emergency. For over 200 years, ten kings resided at this location.
Construction began in 1617 during the 9th ruling year of King Gwanghaegun of Joseon, who reigned from 1608 to 1623.
Before 1760, the palace was known as Gyeongdeokgung or Seogwol, meaning palace in the west. In 1760, the palace was renamed to Gyeonghuigung.
A small bridge known as Geumcheongyo can be found crossing the Geumcheon stream near the front entrance of the Seoul Museum Of History.
By the early 1900s, about 100 buildings made up Gyeonghuigung Palace. During the Japanese occupation of Korea most of these buildings were either destroyed or removed to make way for schools for Japanese children.
In the 1990s, reconstruction work was started to restore the decayed royal residence to its former glory. Though many of the gates and halls have since been restored, it still looks very different from its original design and features. In 2002, the area was reopened to the public.
What to see at Gyeonghuigung Palace
Sungjeongjeon Hall is the main hall of Gyeonghuigung Palace. At this location, the king would hold many morning meetings and ceremonies. The hall was also used for royal banquets and receptions for important foreign visitors and officials
Jajeongjeon Hall was a hall that was used by the king for meetings with his royal council and also for his own personal use as a living room. In this building, the king held meetings with his subjects and also supervised academic competitions.
Taeryeongjeon Hall is located in a back corner of Gyeonghuigung Palace. It contains the portrait of King Yeongjo who ruled from 1724 to his death in 1776. Originally, this building had no specific purpose or use.
Seoam Rock, behind Taeryeongjeon Hall, is a large stone formation well known for its design and for Amcheon, the natural fountain that flows within. Originally, it was known as Wangam which means 'King's Rock' which is why it is believed that King Gwanghaegun built Gyeonghuigung Palace here.
Heunghwamun Gate is the front gate of Gyeonghuigung Palace. When originally constructed, it faced east and was located at the current site of the Salvation Army building. In 1932, during the Japanese occupation, the gate was relocated to a shrine known as Bangmunsa who honored Ito Hirobumi.
Geumcheongyo Bridge is stone bridge built in 1619 during the reign of Gwanghaegun located across a stream near the entrance to the Seoul Museum of History. The stream, known as Geumcheon, runs between the bridge and Heunghwamun, the front gate of the palace.