Sung Kyun Kwan refers to the old Sung Kyu Kwan place of education and not the modern Sung Kyun Kwan University located next door. Sung Kyun Kwan was built around 600 years ago during King Taejo’s reign of the Joseon Dynasty. Sungkyunkwan was the first national education institue in Korea. The main goal for the students at Sungkyunkwan was to pass the civil servant’s examination, translate Chinese literature, learn complex mathematics and study Confucian related ideology. There were two entrance exams that were extremely difficult. Only the sons of high ranking officials could attend Sungkyunkwan. Anyone who was lucky enough to get one of the 150 places available received a full scholarship and boarding.
One of the things that stands out at Sungkyunkwan and a main attraction are the two giant ginkgo trees. They were planted in 1519 and are registered as Natural Monument No. 59. The current campus of Sungkyunkwan has been rebuilt and repaired many times after invasions and fires. The current buildings were rebuilt in 1988 after being destroyed during the Korean War. Sungkyunkwan almost looks like a small palace and has a similar layout with the main gate leading into a courtyard followed by another gate and courtyard with buildings along the sides. It is here that Jongyeonggak was built (Korea’s first library).
Students of Sungkyunkwan were the academic elite in Korea at that time and were constantly studying around the clock. Along with complex topics and subjects that they studied, they also learned to play and understand music. Archery and horsemanship were also part of their studies.
To learn more about Sungkyunkwan watch Sungkyunkwan Scandal. It is a Korean Drama set at Sungkyunkwan and follows a girl who disguises herself as a man to study at Sungkyunkwan Institute.
Opening Hours /Admission:
09:30 am to 17:00 pm
How to get to Sungkyunkwan:
Take line 4 to Hyehwa station and leave exit 4. Head straight for 3 minutes until you come to a main road. Take the first right and head straight. Follow the map below.
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