Gyeongbokgung Palace Seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace - Adam Gregory
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Gyeongbokgung is Korea’s largest Joseon-dynasty temple, and is the biggest of Seoul’s palaces. Gyeongbokgung (the "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven") has one of the longest and most documented histories of all of the Korean palaces. The story begins in 1395, three years after the Joseon dynasty started. The original main palace (Gyeongbokgung) was completed, and the Joseon dynasty moved their capital from Gaeseong (currently in North Korea) to this palace in Hanyang (now Seoul). Later kings of the Joseon dynasty continued to expand the premises, but the Japanese eventually destroyed the palace during their invasion in 1592.
Fast forward almost 270 years to 1867-68, when the palace buildings were reconstructed (the fifth year of King Gojong - Korean texts refer to the year of a king's reign as opposed to a four-digit number). The reconstructed buildings formed a massive 330-building complex with 5,792 rooms that stood on 4,414,000 square feet (410,000 square meters) of land.
In 1895 - just a few decades later - the Empress Myeongseong (wife to Emperor Gojong) was assassinated by the Japanese; the imperial family fled and never returned. By the early twentieth century, only about 10 buildings were left standing in the Japanese occupation – including the Japanese General Government Building which they located on the grounds.