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The Five Grand Palaces in Seoul are Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace, Gyeonghuigung Palace, Deoksugung Palace, Changgyeonggung Palace.

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace was the main and first royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. Lee Seong-gye or the Taejo of Joseon initiated the construction of  the “palace of happiness” when he decided to settle the capital in Seoul.  Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace also is the largest of the Five Grand Palaces. Its walls enclosed no less than 500 buildings. Furthermore, it was the Kings’ households, as well as the government center.  The King Taejong extended the palace during his reign. His son, King Sejong the great, extended it too. The latter created the Korean alphabet there, in Gyeongbokgung.

Korean Government had rebuild the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation since 1990. Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, Hyangwonjeong Pond and the huge gates of Gwanghwamun that makes Gyeongbokgung Palace as the most gorgeous and grandest of all the five palaces.

Gyeongbokgung Palace is the best and must see palace for Korean and foreigners. Interest to visit Gyeongbokgung Palace with a profressional tour guide? , join our best one day old and new Seoul city private tour!

The Five Grand Palaces


Changdeokgung Palace

Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many of the Joseon kings and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. Changdeokgung Palace receives also the name of Donggwol, the Eastern Palace, because of its location to the east of Gyeongbokgung Palace. For 270 years, the palace was home to the Joseon government and was also the favorite residence of many Joseon Dynasty kings.

Huwon, the rear garden of Changdeokgung Palace. It offer an excellent Korean garden design and beautiful nature scenery. A large pond Buyongji located in the middle of the garden. A cross-shaped roof and two supporting pillars rising from the pond make the design of Buyongjeong unique. It is said that King Jeongjo (the twenty-second king of the Joseon Dynasty) and his courtiers often enjoyed fishing here at Buyongjeong. Changdeokgung Palace is in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1997.

the five grand palaces in seoul


Gyeonghuigung Palace

Gyeonghuigung Palace also known as Seogwol because it located in the west side of Seoul. Cyeonghuigung Palace served as the secondary palace for the king during the latter half of the Joseon period. It was the place where the king moved to in times of emergency.

This palace made use of the slanted geography of the surrounding mountain, and it boasts traditional beauty in its architecture and huge historical significance.

the five grand palaces in seoul

Deoksugung Palace

Deoksugung Palace located at the corner of Seoul’s busiest downtown intersection. It is famous for its elegant stone-wall road and western style garden.

Deoksugung originally belonged to Wolsandaegun (1454-1488), the older brother of King Seongjong (1469-1494) of the Joseon Dynasty. It became a proper palace when Gwanghaegun (1575-1641) ascended to the throne and gave the palace the name Gyeongungung in 1611. Afterwards, the name was then changed back to its orginal title of Deoksugung.

To visit Deoksugung Palace, you can join our Modern History and Architecture Tour, Seoul Night History Tour  or  Joseon Dynasty Walking Tour

the five grand palaces in seoul

Changgyeonggung Palace

Changgyeonggung Palace located on the middle of Seoul. It was built by the 4th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong (r.1418-1450), for his retiring father, King Taejong. It often served as residential quarters for queens and concubines. The palace was renovated and renamed to Changgyeonggung Palace during the reign of King Seongjong (r.1469-1494). It became a park and zoo  during Japanese colonial rule and relocated in 1983.

the five grand palaces in seoul


All the palaces located in the middle of Seoul and next to a subway station.

the five grand palaces in seoul


See more attractions in Seoul:

The best itinerary for a first time visit to Seoul

The 10 best things to see in Seoul    The 10 best things to do in Seoul


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