Gyeongbokgung, 경복궁, Seoul South KOREA (night shot)
Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name of the palace, "Gyeongbokgung," translates in English as "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven."
Heavily destroyed by the Japanese government in the early 20th century, the palace complex is slowly being restored to its original form prior the destruction. As of 2009, only 40% of the palace has been rebuilt.
The palace was originally constructed in 1394 by King Taejo, the first king and founder of the Joseon Dynasty, and the name "Gyeongbokgung" was created by an influential government minister named Jeong Dojeon. Gyeongbokgung was continuously expanded during the reign of King Taejong and King Sejong the Great, but the majority of the palace was burnt down during the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598).
During the regency of Daewongun in 1867, the palace buildings were reconstructed and formed a massive complex with 330 buildings and 5,792 rooms. Standing on 4,414,000 square feet (410,000 square meters) of land, it was a symbol of majesty for both the Korean nation and the seat of the Korean royal family. In 1895, after the assassination of Empress Myeongseong by Japanese agents, her husband, Emperor Gojong left the palace; since then, the Imperial family never returned to Gyeongbokgung.
From 1911, the Japanese government systemically demolished all but 10 buildings during the period of Japanese occupation of Korea and ultimately constructed the Japanese General Government Building for the Governor-General of Korea in front of the throne hall, Geunjeongjeon, in order to eradicate the symbol and heritage of the Joseon Dynasty.
At the end of World War II and the liberation of Korea, major buildings still on the site included Geunjeongjeon, the Imperial throne Hall (National Treasure No. 223), Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, Jagyeongjeon Hall, Jibokjae Hall, Sajeongjeon Hall, Sujeongjeon Hall, Gwanghwamun gate, and Gyeonghoeru Pavilion (National Treasure No. 224).
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