Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Namsangol Hanok Village

Namsangol Hanok Village, on the northern edge of Namsan Park in Seoul, was a famous summer vacation spot during the five centuries of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897), filled with streams, valleys, and beautiful scenery.  The City of Seoul transformed this site into a park celebrating hanok housing by moving five famous hanok houses that were scattered around the city to the location and creating a  culture and art space to celebrate the traditions and lives of Korean ancestors.

Hanok houses are unique to Korea, adapted to the surrounding environment with underfloor heating, a multi-purpose board-floored room in the center, and thatch or tile roofing.  This structure creates a cool living environment during the scorching summer season and a warm living space in the harsh winters.  Houses are typically situated on a site protected by hills or mountains on three sides, with a stream or river passing in front, built in harmony with the surrounding environment.

The village is oriented around a stream flowing through the valley and lake at the front doors of the houses.

 Water features

The first house was built by Master Carpenter Yi Seongeop, who participated in the rebuilding of Gyeongbok Palace in the 1860s.

 Master carpenter's house

The next house was built in the 1890s and the family lived in it for over 100 years.

 1890s hanok house

A third house, believed to have been built in 1907 by Emperor Sunjong's father-in-law, included outer quarters, inner quarters, and a shrine for the Emperor to use when he came to visit.

 Outer quarters, including kitchen

 Inner quarters


The final house, built in 1910, is believed to have belonged to the uncle of Empress Sunjeonghyo, the wife of Emperor Sunjong.

 Uncle of the empress

The collection of houses is well done and offers an incredible peak into how people lived in hanok housing in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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