Last Saturday I went to a photo tour around Ihwa Village and walked along the Seoul Fortress Wall. A perfect way to start the new month, I'd say!
But before that I went to European Chirstmas Market with my dormmates.
The event was loaded with people~~! There were so many intersting foods introduced there but I couldn't eat most of them because of the pork in it ㅠ.ㅠ However! I did try a beef goulash and nordic's smoked salmon. The prices were a bitch but they tasted good, especially the salmon. <33 I rushed through my European festive to catch up with the tour schedule, luckily located near with this event.
When I arrived at the meeting point at Dehangno, 3 guides from Soulmates and 2 guests had already arrived. The Soulmates is a group of university students who volunteer to give free English tour around Seoul. They usually have a scheduled tour on each weekend, but they are also available for customed tour to meet the guest demand. Their tours are unique because they are more personalized; they are there as your friend who take you around the city instead of just someone who take you to places. I hope you get what I mean xD So, if you deside to visit Seoul, make sure to contact them, you'll love it <3
So, our guides for that day were Lee WooSung (이유성), Park Hyun\njung (박현정) and 박헤미 (Park Hyemi). They guests were Diana from Romania and Cécile from France. And then, after another guest arrived, Kari from California, we officially started the tour. Oh, I also told them about the European Christmas Market and Diana and Cécile reaaaally wanted to come because apparantly they missed European food sooooo bad. And since it was near by, our lovely guides decided to stop by there after we finished the tour ^^
You've probably never heard about Dehangno let alone Ihwa Village *laughs* so let me talk a little about it. Dehangno is Seoul's theater district. The place has more than a dozen theaters around! and live music (jazz) clubs, cozy cafes and restaurants, and of course, some street artsists. I have been tempted to go to one of the plays here, but my lack of Korean proficiency deters me greatly. xD But one day I'll be bold and dive with my head first! Here is a little info about Dehangno: link. Behind this intriguing Dehangno, lies Naksan (Mt. Nak) and on the foot of this mountain lies Ihwa Village. What's so special about this village? Keep reading and you'll find out!
Our tour should be started at Marronnier Park at the heartof Daehangno, but it was currently closed for renovation. So we gather just next to it to introduce ourselves (we just clicked with each other right away xD awesome). And as expected, there was some street musicians performing and also a theater group was doing their public happening art just right in front of us! So interesting, too bad I didn't take picture of them. And after a brief introduction, we walked our way to Ihwa Village. On our way there, some people were doing free-hug event. I got 2 or 3 hugs! I love it ^__^
Our entry point is the Naksan Exhibition Park. Inside is a small display room about history of Naksan that then being explain by our tour leader, Lee WooSung (later on we call him Leader Lee), and also by Hyunjeong (she's the current president of SEOULMATE, by the way).
The history went back to the begining of Jeoson Dynasty, the last monarch dynasty in Korea. At that time, the founder of Jeoson Dynasty decided to move the capital; this new dynasty would have a new capital. Here were some criterions: it is surounded by mountains to protect the city (based on the chinese fengshui) and close enough to the river for agricultural activities. That's why the capital was moved to where Seoul is located now, a land which is near to the Han River and surrounded by 4 mountains, Bugaksan of the north, Imwangsan of the west, Namsan of the south, and Naksan of the east. And then, a fortress wall was build surrounding the capital and naturally, a section of it is here at Naksan.
Naksan is the one symbolized as dragon. (By the way, Jeoson Dynasty's main palace, Gyeongbokgung, is built just right at the foot of Bugaksan)
The fortress was not built in one night.The first generation of the wall was built using ununiform shaped-stones. When the fortress was fortified, the rectangular cut-stone was used. The latest addition to the wall later on was buit with square-cut stone. So the wall was made of layers of different shaped of stone. However, after the colonialization by Japan, the World War II, the Korean War and also modern development, not all of the wall survived the time. Many had been cut down, destroyed, turned into households, fields, roads, etc. (It reminds me to the fortess wall of Jogjakarta, the city I used to live. The same thing happen there) The government have made effort to rebuilt this wall and try to connect them all as much as possible. At some point, it was impossible to rebuild the fortress but I highly appreciate the effort.
After Korea gained its independance, the economy was not well at all and there were many shanty housings all over Seoul. One of them is here at Ihwa Village of Naksan. As they kept restoring Seoul to her better face, one art is project was launch at 2006; the name is "ART in the City 2006". One of the selected area is Ihwa Village."The Naksan Art Project was established in 2006 by the Ministry of Culture & Tourism as part of its “ART in the city 2006” campaign, in order to foster arts and culture-friendly environments in urban areas. This project focuses on the Dongsung-dong district ranging from Hyehwa Staton to Naksan Park, where poorly developed housing and buildings were scattered across the area. The aim is to improve living conditions through practical and financial help and support, as well as giving the area an artistic and cultural makeover. Since the project began, the Dongsung-dong district has gained a fresh new look as a growing hub for arts and culture in Seoul, featuring a range of art installations and more than 70 beautiful murals, decorated walls and houses, and much more."
Interesting, isn't it! I'm very appealed the idea of using art to change the environment! And it works! The painting make the neighboorhod to look brighter, people are coming to take pictures, and so on. Very nice!
After the above explaination, we went outside to devide us into two teams; the team would compete to finish the given mission. We threw rock-sissor-paper to decide the team. The first team was Diana and Cécile, accompanied by Leader Lee. The second team was Kari and I, accompanied by Hyeonjung and Hyemi. YAY! Our mission was to take 2 jumping pictures and take pictures of the arts based on the given cluees. And of course we were free to take other pictures too, after all, we were the Ihwa Village's papparazzis!!
These are our team's jumping pictures:
1. Shall We Dance?
2. Man in The Air
4. Happy Doggie Family
5. Hello. Welcoming Robot
6. Slow (the meaning of the wiriting is "please go slowly")
7. The Avengers (too bad that didn't have Loki!!)
8. White tree on yellow-green wall
9. Children's tile painting
10. Three Men Who Are Fishing
11. Brother and Sister Supermarket (it was painted on a grocery store's wall xD)
12. Grab The Floral Leaf of Sunflower
13. Amoeba or Mold......?
14. Be A Beautiful Flower
Kari made a beautiful flower indeed, but when I did it, I look like Zetsu of Akatsuki because of the shades. hahahahaha
Solar panel robot!
I call this 'lady bug house'
me, Kari, Hyunjeong, Leader Lee, Diana, Cécile
Cécile was excited to see this cafe because it was named in French xD
Bucket list. The list said "Before I die, I want to......."
one of the newest mural in Ihwa Village. It was finished just last September.
Hyemi, Kari, Diana, Leader Lee, Cécile, me, and Hyunjeong
Finish with the mission, we continue our journey by walking along the Seoul Fortress Wall.
where the wall ends... it was cut off by a road, it should be connected to the Hyehwamun (below)
Last mural of the day~
The Hyehwa Gate (Hyehwamun) was indeed very close to the location of European Chirstmas Market, it took us only about 10 minutes of walk. But unfortunately it was even more crowded compared to when I first arrived, so we cancelled our plan to grab some food there and find other place to eat. Leader Lee took us a little more farther into a small but absolutely cozy restorant. We order Mayak Jjimdak, it is modified version of the tradisional Jjimdak and it tasted to die for! I have to come back and have it again! What were the modification? The original jjimdak has chicken (of course!), potato, clear noodle, potato, carrot, and onion. Mayak Jjimdak has added ingredients such as enoki mushroom, boiled egg, sweet potato (to replace the potato of the original recipe), pumpkin, odeng (fish cake), tteok (rice cake), and pok coy. We also order Jumokbab (korean rice ball), and no, it was not onigiri *laughs*
Kari couldn't join us for dinner :(
After the dinner, we parted with a promise to meet up again one day!
Thank you Leader Lee, Hyeonjung, Hyemi, Diana, Cecile, and Kari! It was a wonderful evening I had with you guys! <3