Construction began in the 1600s during the reign of King Gwanghaegun. In the latter Joseon period, Gyeonghuigung served as the secondary palace for the king, and as it was situated on the west side of Seoul, it was also called Seogwol (a palace of the west). The Secondary palace is usually the palace where the King moves to in times of emergency.
From King Injo to King Cheoljong, about ten kings of Joseon dynasty stayed here at Gyeonghuigung. This palace was built using the slanted geography of the surrounding mountain, has traditional beauty in its architecture and a lot of historical significance. For a time, it was of a considerable size, even to the point of having an arched bridge connecting it to Deoksugung palace. For the king’s royal audience, there were the Sungjeongjeon and Jajeongjeon buildings, and for sleeping, Yungbokjeon and Hoesangjeon buildings.
Most of Gyeonghuigung was lost to two fires that broke out in the 19th century, during the reigns of King Sunjo and King Gojong. The Japanese dismantled what remained of the palace during their occupation of the Korean peninsula, and a school for Japanese citizens was built on the site. Two major structures of the former palace – the Sungjeongjeon throne hall and the Heunghwamun gate – were disassembled and moved to other parts of Seoul. Reconstruction started in the 1990s as part of the South Korean government’s initiative to rebuild the “Five Grand Palaces” that were heavily destroyed by the Japanese. However, due to urban growth and decades of neglect, the government was only able to reconstruct around 33% of the former Palace