The Trace of History in Seoul : Hanok Village
|The Unique Roof Form of Hanok (took in Bukchon Hanok Village)|
There are several spots to see and experience Korean Traditional House in Seoul, but due to our limited time, we chose two most popular spot; Namsangol and Bukchon Hanok Village.
Namsangol Hanok Village
While Jeju Folk Village is replicas of Jeju's scene and village in 1890's, Namsangol Hanok Village is time capsule of Korean houses in Joseon Dynasty ( 1392-1897).
There are five traditional houses built in Namsangol Hanok Village which seen differ from what we saw in Jeju Folk Village. Not only the time frame, the five traditional houses looks like more pavilion and grand than in Jeju.
|Beautiful Traditional Houses in Namsangol Hanok Village|
The fact is Hanok Houses differ according to region. In the cold northern regions of Korea, houses are built in a closed square form to retain heat better. In the central regions, houses are 'L' shaped. Houses in the southernmost regions of Korea are built in an open 'I' form. Houses can also be classified according to class and social status. May be that's also explain why most houses built in open 'I' form at Jeju Folk Village.
The raw materials used in Hanok, such as soil, timber, and rock, are all natural and recyclable and do not cause pollution. Hanok's have their own tiled roofs (Giwa), wooden beams and stone-block construction. Cheoma is the edge of Hanok's curvy roofs. The lengths of the Cheoma can be adjusted to control the amount of sunlight that enters the house. Hanji (Korean traditional paper) is lubricated with bean oil making it waterproof and polished. Windows and doors made with Hanji are beautiful and breathable.
|Black Stone, one of the particularity of Hanok|
|Woods and Bricks are the main material|
The environment-friendly aspects of traditional Korean houses range from the structure's inner layout to the building materials which were used. Another unique feature of traditional houses is their special design for cooling the interior in summer and heating the interior in winter.
Hanoks are made using natural materials, such as wood and earth. No artificial material is used in their construction, so these homes are 100% natural, biodegradable and recyclable. Even though some hanoks are more than 500 years old, they are designed with special consideration given to energy conservation. The overhang of the roof is specially designed to prevent the sunlight in the summer from entering the interior of the hanok, thus keeping it cool in the blistering heat. During the bitter winter months, because of the angle of the overhang and the lower sun, the sunlight can penetrate a part of the nterior to provide heat to its occupants and, by doing so, decrease the amount of fuel needed to heat the hanok (source : here)
|Beautiful Lampoons hang on the front house|
|Kimchi or Rice Wine Storage Area?|
|Traditional open kitchen|
When we got there on Saturday noon, we saw several peoples using traditional hanbok sitting on the front like a receptionist. We walk closer and saw a sign that there was a wedding will be held at 13.00 o'clock. Actually, we can attend the traditional wedding to see how the traditional ceremony held (just like a movie) by paying sum amount of money. We could also taste the tea and meals served in there! Unfortunately we have itinerary to go, so we decided to skip the ceremony.
|Feels like in the making of Korean Drama|
Bukchon Hanok Village
|Typical Alleys at Bukchon|
While Namsangol is built for learning the history purpose, Bukchon Hanok Village is real residential which real people living in it as the real home. Bukchon Hanok Village is a Korean traditional village with a long history located between Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace and Jongmyo Royal Shrine.
The traditional village is composed of lots of alleys, hanok and is preserved to show a 600-year-old urban environment. Not only for residential, there are also a traditional culture center and hanok restaurant. Also for the Korean Drama Lovers, Bukchon is the shooting place of famous Winter Sonata, Heartstrings and Personal Taste.
|Typical stairs at Bukchon (plus King Cherry Blossom)|
|Beautiful Traditional Gate|
|Another beautiful traditional Gate|
|Real Cat jumping in between roof of real houses|
Since I am talking about the architecture, we can see the similarity of Hanok in Korea with Ryokan in Japan. The building materials and the shape is like a prove that there comes from one root.
One of the beautiful ideology of Hanok is the bedrooms were made small, so that the residents could be encouraged to spend more time together in the large, open-plan room with interconnected smaller bedrooms.
Thus, which also remind me about the very different ideology between western and eastern houses. While in the western prefer to use processed materials like aluminum instead of wood, spandex roof instead of tile roof to create modernity, the eastern thinking about how to create an open air with the shape of house, and how to keep harmony with the nature using eco-friendly materials.
Also when current modern house all over the world built wider bedroom, the wider the more private, meanwhile the eastern thinking about how to create a bonding between family member by scale down the bedroom. Well, there is no good or bad in that, it is just showed the different character of western and eastern.
Overall, take a walk to Hanok Village in Korea is a must not only to learn about history, also to remind us about harmony!
|Woods and Woods|
To reach here, don't think about walking from Gyongbokgung Palace (though it looks close in the map), just get off from Aguk Station and get lost in the alleys!