Gwanghwamun is the main and largest gate of Gyeongbokgung Palace, in Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It is located at an intersection at the northern end of Sejongno. As a landmark and symbol of Seouls long history as the city during the Joseon Dynasty. Restoration work on the gate was finished and it was opened to the public on August 15,2010, Gwanghwamun was first constructed in 1395 as the main gate to Gyeongbokgung Palace, the main and most important royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty. During the 1592 Japanese invasion, it was destroyed by fire, Gwanghwamun was reconstructed in 1867 along with the rest of Gyeongbokgung Palace by the order of regent Daewongun during the reign of Emperor Gojong. The Korean War completely destroyed the structure of Gwanghwamun, and its stone base lay in complete disrepair. In 1968, during Park Chung-hees administration, the base was again relocated in front of the Japanese Governor General Building. The destroyed wooden structure was rebuilt in concrete, while the sign on Gwanghwamun was written in hangul by Park himself, Gwanghwamun remained as a concrete gate until late 2006. Gwanghwamun underwent a restoration project since December 2006 and was finished in August 2010. The gate was disassembled and moved back to its original location 14.5 meters to the south and it was rotated in order to accurately place the gate to its original location, which perfectly aligns it with the main north-south axis of Gyeongbokgung Palace. The aim of the latest renovation was to restore Gwanghwamun to its wooden construction while paying meticulous attention to historical accuracy. Pine wood used in the construction was selected in Korea as the use of foreign imported wood for recreating Koreas historic buildings was strictly forbidden. Gwanghwamun was opened to the public on August 15,2010, to commemorate Gwangbokjeol, the project cost ₩28 billion. A new name plate on the restored Gwanghwamun was unveiled on the same day, the lettering was done by master Oh Ok-jin, using the gakjajang method of calligraphic engraving, a technique designated as Important Intangible Cultural Property no 106. However, cracks in the plate were showing by early November. After many debates, a repair to the cracks was made,13 wooden boards for the new signboard were cut in September 2011 and have since undergone a natural drying process in Gangwon Province. A majority of experts consulted thought the sign should be carved as the original had been, the area in front of Gwanghwamun, known as the Gwanghwamun Plaza, was opened as a public open space on 1 August 2009. It is part of the Seoul Metropolitan Governments plans for environmentally friendly renovation projects such as the Cheonggye Stream, the royal changing of the guard ceremony is held in front of the main gate every hour from 10,00 to 15,00
Image: Gwanghwamun Plaza Gwanghwamun gate Gyeongbokgung Palace 2016 hschrijver
Concrete Gwanghwamun with the Japanese Governor General Building, which stood until 1996.