The Joseon Capital
1zone : The Joseon Capital (1392~1863)
Establishment of the King’s Residence
Formation of the Capital in Hanyang
In 1394, King Taejo established the capital of the Joseon Dynasty in Hanyang. The city remained the capital of the kingdom for over 500 years. Hanyang was built as required by ancient Korean tradition, geomantic principles, and Confucian ideology. The city walls were laid out according to the mountainous topography and the palace occupied a superb location, as tradition dictated. According to Jurye or the Rites of Zhou, Jongmyo Shrine, which housed royal spirit tablets, was built to the left of the palace and Sajikdan Altar, dedicated to the deities of earth and grains, was built to the right of the palace.
Bukchon: an Affluent Neighborhood
Bukchon (Northern Village) was bordered by Changdeokgung Palace to the east and Gyeongbokgung Palace to the west. This village was home to the most powerful families in Hanyang, who were wealthy and intellectual high-ranking officials. As the uppermost class of society, they considered Confucian order to be of utmost importance and were great adherents of Qing Dynasty culture of China in the mid-18th century.
Jungchon: a Community of Technical Specialists
Jungchon (Middle Village) was at the heart of Hanyang, which is today the Jongno area, crossed by Cheonggyecheon Stream. The residents there were professional officers including interpreters and medical officers, minor officials, and merchants.
Namchon: the Bedrock of Hanyang
Namchon (Southern Village) was at the foot of Mongmyeoksan Mountain, which is Namsan Mountain today. During the Joseon Dynasty, a number of scholars of high integrity lived here, along with families of the highest pedigree.
Seongjeosimni: Four-Kilometer Radius Outside the City Walls
Seongjeosimni was the suburban area outside the city walls under the jurisdiction of Hanseongbu (Capital Prefecture). During the Joseon Dynasty, Hanseongbu controlled the area within a radius of up to about four kilometers outside the city walls. Mapo and Yongsan were commercial centers, while Wangsimni and Salgojibeol, which were beyond Dongdaemun Gate, were the hubs of suburban agriculture.