Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blast from the Past: Korean Folk Village

Just south of Seoul, in the city of Suwon, is a really interesting place that is very uninterestingly titled "Korean Folk Village." Despite the bland name, this place turned out to be a treasure-trove of historical and cultural experiences.
My traveling companions with an on-duty sentry.

In an area of almost 250 acres and spread through woods and on either side of a natural stream, the Korean Folk Village boasts over 260 houses from around Korea that date back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897).
There is also a bazaar where you can eat traditional foods (and rice wine) and buy traditional crafts (as well as souvenirs). This place is pretty interactive. A visitor can: ride horses, make pottery, tie knots, dye fabric, wear old-timey clothing, play traditional games, and watch a traditional wedding and other performances like acrobats on a tightrope, equestrian feats and farmers' music and dance.

Making traditional fans.
A traditional wedding. The bride is decked out in the red with the long cloth in front. The groom is in blue with the long braid. Looks uncomfortable.

What Korean Folk Village would be complete without an Amusement Park?

We rode a little roller coaster, viking ship, and even an American West shoot-em-up ride. Odd.

It's a shame that I don't have any more visitors coming to South Korea, because this would be a great place to take them!
Beautiful place.


  1. From a book I am reading: "Saemaul was a product of the military reformist spirit that animated [Park Chung Hee] (Korean president 1963-1979) and the men around him. Away went the thatched roof huts that had dotted the countryside for centuries. Park considered these roofs too primitive for a would-be developed country, so he ordered their replacement with corrugated metal roofs and, later, concrete tiles. The fact that straw was a far more effective insulator against the bitter winds and steaming summers of Korea did not trouble Park. Metal was modern, and straw was not. For those villagers who protested, Park offered a sop: THE KOREAN FOLK VILLAGE WAS BUILT NEAR SUWON, A WALLED CITY SOUTH OF SEOUL, WHERE TRADITIONAL HOUSES WERE PRESERVED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS." Peasants who refused to re-roof their houses had their traditional roofs destroyed by zealous local officials."

    What a sinister beginning to this lovely place!

  2. I'm pretty sure we still wouldn't be married if Nathan had to face a wedding like the traditional Korean one, yikes!