King Taejo, founder of the Joseon kingdom and builder of Gyeongbokgung palace, had this pavilion erected in this man-made lake in the western section of the palace. He named it Gyeonghoeru, or pavilion of Joyous Meeting. It is now the largest elevated pavilion in Korea. Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, is a hall used to hold important and special state banquets during the Joseon Dynasty. It is an important national landmark registered as Korea's National Treasure No. 224 on January 8, 1985.
The first Gyeonghoeru was constructed in 1412, the 12th year of the reign of King Taejong, but was burned down during the Japanese invasions of Korea in 1592. The present building was constructed in 1867 (the 4th year of the reign of King Gojong) on an island of an artificial, rectangular lake that is 128 m wide and 113 m across.
Constructed mainly of wood and stone, Gyeonghoeru has a form where the wooden structure of the building sits on top of 48 massive stone pillars, with the wooden stairs connecting the second floor to the first floor. The outer perimeters of Gyeonghoeru are supported by square pillars while the inner columns are cylindrical; they were placed thus to represent the idea of Yin & Yang. When Gyeonghoeru was originally built in 1412, these stone pillars were decorated with sculptures depicting dragons rising to the sky, but these details were not reproduced when the building was rebuilt in the 19th century. Three stone bridges connect the building to the palace grounds, and corners of the balustrades around the island are decorated with sculptures of the twelve Zodiac animals.
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