OWL Magazine Korea

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion in Gyeongbokgung Palace

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is a gazebo located in the rear garden of Gyeongbokgung Palace, to the south of Geoncheonggung Palace. The name “Hyangwon” means “fragrance far and wide,” derived from a passage in the “Aeryeonseol (愛蓮說)” written by the scholar Zhu Xi (周敦頤, 1017 ~ 1073) during the Northern Song Dynasty, which states, “As fragrance spreads afar, it becomes purer (香遠益淸).”

“The Inscription Personally Written by King Gojong”

The inscription on the signboard of Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is known to have been personally written by King Gojong.

The exact construction date of the current Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, first built after the reconstruction of Gyeongbokgung Palace, is uncertain. It was once speculated that it was constructed in 1873 (the 10th year of King Gojong’s reign) along with Geoncheonggung Palace. However, during the restoration work conducted from 2017 to 2021, the Cultural Heritage Administration confirmed that the wooden materials used were felled in 1881 (the 18th year of King Gojong’s reign) and 1884 (the 21st year of King Gojong’s reign). Therefore, the current estimated construction period is around 1885 (the 22nd year of King Gojong’s reign).

“A Space for the King and His Family to Rest”

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is a symbolically representative building nestled in the beautiful scenery of the rear garden of Gyeongbokgung Palace, where the king and his family could relax. It is a hexagonal pavilion with finely crafted components, including a hexagonal foundation, hexagonal floor plan, and hexagonal multi-hipped roof. The meticulous harmony of these elements showcases exceptional proportions, making it highly valuable from historical, artistic, and architectural perspectives.

“The Bridge Leading to Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, Chwihyanggyo Bridge”

Chwihyanggyo Bridge is the bridge constructed to access Hyangwonjeong Pavilion. Originally located to the north of the pavilion, it was relocated to the south after the Korean War armistice in 1953, not in its original position.

However, the restoration resulted in a completely different appearance and direction from the Joseon Dynasty era. Ultimately, in 2017, it was restored again, and the bridge was returned to its original northern location.

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion is designated as South Korea’s Treasure No. 1761. For more information about Gyeongbokgung Palace, you can refer to the link below: