Serving as the main gate to Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun stands as a legacy of Seoul’s role as the Joseon Dynasty capital. Originally constructed in 1395, it was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion of 1592 and wasn’t reconstructed until 1867. It was destroyed again during the Korean War, with the latest restoration completed in 2010.
Marvel at the triple-arched design of Gwanghwamun, with the centre used exclusively by the king and the outer arches by the crown prince and royal officials. Its granite walls are topped by a two-tiered wooden tower rising high above Gwanghwamun Plaza, a sprawling public space featuring statues of Admiral Yi Sun-sin and King Sejong the Great.
Coincide your visit with the changing of the guards outside Gwanghwamun, which takes place every hour between 10 am and 3 pm. The gate is a short stroll from the Sejong Center, a performing arts complex that encompasses several auditoriums, galleries and one of the biggest pipe organs in Asia.
Gwanghwamun is a 20-minute train ride from Seoul Station and is easily accessed from the Gyeongbokgung and Gwanghwamun subway stations. Incheon International Airport is 1.5 hours by train from Gwanghwamun.