Constructed in 1864, Unhyeongung Royal Residence or Unhyeon Palace, is the house of Regent Heungseon, ruler of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty in the 19th century. He was the father of Emperor Gojong who ascended the throne at the age of 12 when King Cheoljong passed away without an heir. While living here, Regent Heungseon ruled the whole country for a decade before his son Emperor Gojong is old enough to rule the country.
It is technically a royal residence not a palace, that is why it is not included in the five grand palaces of Seoul. Unhyeongung is composed of the Irodang Hall, Noandang Hall, Norakdang Hall, Sujiksa, and vast Exhibition Hall. The Norakdang hall and Noandan hall were built in 1864 while the Irodang hall was built in 1869. Unhyeongung can be considered as an inner palace rather than just a house of a high ranking official in the government in consideration with it’s size and ground plan. The four gates of Unhyeonggung were called Jeongmun (the front gate), Humun (back gate), Kyeonggeunmun (one side gate), and Gonggeunmun (the other side gate). Currently, only Humun remains. The Gyeonggeunmun Gate and Gonggeunmun Gate were built to facilitate a fast and easy passage from Unhyeongung to the Changdeokgung Palace (one of the five grand palaces of Seoul). Both gates were built exclusively for Regent Heungseon and Emperor Gojong. Large part of the house was sold after the Korean war. The size now is considerably smaller than what it was before as Duksung Women’s University now occupies part of its grounds, as well as Unhyeon Kindergarten and Byeolhadang hanok guesthouse. In 1996 this building had an extensive restoration to bring its former glory back.
How to get to Unhyeongung Palace:
- 464 Samil-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul.
- Line 3 at Anguk Station, Exit 4, 2-3 minutes walk
- Lines 5 at Jongo 3-ga Station, Exit 5, 8-10 minutes walk