Thursday, October 1, 2015

Insa-dong and Bukchon Hanok Village

In September, 2015, Bob's counselor in the LDS District Presidency, came up from Camp Humphries (about an hour south of Seoul) with his recently arrived family, to see some sights in Seoul after attending our District Temple Day.  We walked with them down Gwanghwamun square, with it's statue of King Sejong, in front of the palace.  From there we strolled over to the popular tourist shopping street of Insa-dong, where the Taylor family observed arts and crafts being made, had caricatures drawn, explored the souvenir shops, and laughed at the making of the Emperor's honey candy.


A following weekend in September, Bob and I walked around Bukchon Hanok Village in the popular Samcheong-dong area.  "Hanok" is a term used to describe a traditional Korean house.  In a previous post, I featured Hahoe Village in Andong, which is the most beautiful of all the clusters of traditional homes we have seen in Korea.  Bukchon is interesting because it exists right in the middle of Seoul, not far from Gwangwhamun Palace.  Individual families actually live in these homes, although many of them have been converted into small museums, arts and craft centers, or restaurants.

One interesting museum showcased Korean "Kokdu", which are wooden figures that adorned the funerary bier, or "Sangyeo".  The Kokdu had four roles:  travel guides, guardians, caretakers and entertainers.  It seems the dead were well taken care of on their journey to the afterlife.  I love these ancient works of art!

Leaving the "north village", we caught views of city rooftops, the palace pagoda, a military outpost on the side of the mountain, the famous stairway alley carved completely from one large stone, and quaint cafes and shops in Samcheong-dong.

Thankfully, September blessed us with some beautiful clear skies and pleasant temperatures, which allowed for some happy site-seeing weekends in Seoul.

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