Gyeongbok Palace, sometimes referred to as Gyeongbokgung Palace, was constructed in 1395 by King Taejo. Largest among the Five Grand Palaces built in Seoul around this time, Gyeongbok served as the central palace during the Joseon dynasty, doubling as the official kingly residence and seat of the Joseon government. The palace was designed with majestic towers, grand facades, intricate furnishings, a massive royal court, and no fewer than 7,700 individual rooms. Much of the palace was restored in the 19th century, and it continues to undergo work as part of a campaign to restore the site to its original glory. At once visually stunning and culturally significant, Gyeongbok Palace and its onsite museums offer excellent insight into Korean history.
Established in 1994, the War Memorial of Korea is one of the largest of its kind in the world and occupies the former army headquarters. It honors those who lost their lives fighting for their country through the course of the Korean War. The memorial comprises both indoor and outdoor exhibition halls that display a curated selection of 10,000 military relics, artillery, ammunition, documents, photographs and other artifacts from the museum's 33,000-strong collection pertaining to the nation's long and illustrious war history. Although primarily focused on the events of the Korean War, the museum also delves into battles preceding it and the international wars that Korean troops were involved in to provide a wider and more comprehensive understanding of the topic. An evocative memorial to the cost of war, as well as a testament to the nation's military prowess, the War Memorial of Korea is a chronicle of the events that shaped the geo-political history of the Korean Peninsula.
Amidst the city's modern landscape, the signature Korean roof of the Jogyesa is not hard to find. This major temple of the Jogye Order is an advocate of Korean Buddhism and attracts a large number of locals and visitors throughout the year. The Dancheong or traditional, artistic motifs hand-painted on the exterior facade are exceptional and colorful buntings ooze a festive feel. The shrine houses three Seokgamoni statues and overlooks an exquisite Jinsinsari pagoda. Across the street, pick up Buddhist prayer beads, scriptures and incense that make for great gifts and souvenirs.
Built in 1971, the N Seoul Tower, located at the peak of Mt.Namsan is 236.7 meters (777 feet) tall. The iconic landmark, built for transmitting signals of radio and television, is visible from nearly everywhere in the city. Now, a famed tourist attraction, the tower offers stunning views from the top. One of the most romantic places in Seoul, the N Seoul Tower or Namsan Tower is a favorite for couples and as any Korean Drama fan will recognize, is the top spot to profess undying love, much like the Eiffel Tower in France. Around the roof terrace, there are locks in a colorful display, proclaiming messages of true love, as couples come here to leave a love lock as a symbol of their devotion to each other. Accessible by cable car, car or hiking, the tower has other attractions including art exhibitions, restaurants, and a cultural experience center.
This impressive gate was originally constructed in 1395 as the main entrance from the majestic Sejong Boulevard into Kyongbuk Palace. The three arched gates and a two-story pavilion are typical of the architectural design and shape of that period. It has been completely reconstructed after years of conflict and falling into disrepair and it is now made of modern materials such as concrete and steel. It presently serves as a secondary entrance to Kwanghwamun Park.
Designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is one of the most iconic landmark structures in Seoul. The cutting-edge modernity of this mega-structure coupled with its unique design won Seoul city the title of World Design Capital in 2010. The structure of the building is curvaceous and fluid, devoid of any straight lines or walls. It houses as many as five spaces inside, namely an art hall, a museum, a design lab, the Oullim square and the Dongdaemun History and Culture park. Visit the DDP at night for a dazzling view of this modern wonder.
Colloquially referred to as Mongmyeoksan at one time, Mount Namsan towers over the city at a height of 262 meters (860 feet). During ancient times, it was a shamanistic site and was also home to a Shinto shrine that honored the Japanese goddess Amaterasu. Today, it is a popular destination for several Seoul natives who wish to get away from the city's bustle and find a moment of peace. There are plenty of attractions at the top of the peak, including the famous Namsan Cable Car, the iconic Namsan Seoul Tower and An Jung-geun Memorial Hall; but the peak is most notable for the views it offers across the city's picturesque sweep, from its undulating skyline, to the contours of the mountains that lie beyond.
The Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty are composed of 40 tombs spread across 18 different location in South Korea. The tombs were constructed between 1408 and 1966, spanning nearly the entire breadth of the Joseon's illustrious reign. The tombs serve as monuments to kings, queens, princes and their wives, as well as those were were posthumously granted royal titles. The tombs are characterized by burial mounds, sculptures and shrines that together paint a vivid picture of the funerary traditions upheld by the royal Joseon family. The tombs are an austere sight, set amid lush, green lawns and splendid architectural embellishments. These scattered tombs are collectively inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites as the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty.
Paper Art Museum; located in Seoul is dedicated to the history and evolution of paper art over the centuries. The museum has various models and origami samples on display and is a platform for artists to display their excellence in paper art.
Chojun Textile & Quilt Art Museum; located in Seoul was established in 1998. It is one of the only museums in the country of its genre and focuses on Korean patchwork. The museum also showcases quilts, textiles, ornaments, ceremonial and rare cloths both from the country and abroad. They also conduct various workshops of quilt making and other knitting forms. The museum is a tribute to all the women who have spend hours knitting and making these cloths.
Bank of Korea Museum is located inside a 1912 building which served as a former headquarters of the Bank of Korea. The building has prominent French chateau and French Renaissance architecture and the interiors are constructed under Eclectic style. The building is centralized and symmetrical and has Tuscan columns. The building is made of granite and has intricate designs all over adding on to the aura. The museum is dedicated to the study of economics and numismatics.