Rarely can a capital have been built so quickly. On the inauguration of his Joseon kingdom in 1392, the ambitious King Taejo immediately set his minions to work on a truly incredible number of gigantic projects. Even more astonishing is the fact that many of them can still be seen today, albeit in reproduction form, since few original structures survived the Japanese occupation and Korean War.

Gyeongbokgung

Seoul’s first palace completed in 1394.

Jongmyo

the ancestral shrines, built in 1394.

Changdeokgung

Seoul’s second palace, built in 1395.

Namdaemun

the city’s south gate; construction started in 1395.

City walls

built in stages from 1396.

Dongdaemun

the east gate, built in 1396.

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