• 16-05-13 10:27
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Travel in time at cultural heritage sites

Gongsan Fortress in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province, built during the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.-A.D. 660), offers a good walking course. / Courtesy of KTO


By Kim Rahn

Culture and history buffs interested to learn more about Korea and its past, from the ancient Baekje Kingdom to the early 20th century, can visit six destinations recommended by the Korea Tourism Organization.

‘Descendants of the Sun' filming locations in Taebaek, Jeongseon

Taebaek and Jeongseon in Gangwon Province were two main filming locations of the hit drama "Descendants of the Sun," starring Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo. Although the main outdoor set was demolished last November after the shooting finished, many other shooting locations in these areas remain. 

Children act out a scene from the drama "Descendants of the Sun," in which actor Song Joong-ki ties the shoelaces of actress Song Hye-kyo, at a closed mine in Taebaek, Gangwon Province, one of locations where the drama was filmed.

One of them is Samtan Art Mine, an art complex housed in a closed mine. The complex operator has kept the filming locations intact. Another is the Sabuk mine cultural village in the former location of Asia's largest mine, which operated from 1962 to 2004. There, visitors can see what a miner's life was like, as well as the equipment they used.

Besides these filming locations, Taebaek Paleozoic Museum shows geology and fossils from the Cambrian period in the Paleozoic Era, mostly from the Taebaek area.


Old Seoul in Hapcheon


The train used in the movie "Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War" on display at the Hapcheon Image Theme Park in Hapcheon County, South Gyeongsang Province.


Hapcheon County has a rich cultural heritage. But it's also interesting that visitors to the South Gyeongsang provincial county can experience old Seoul, including during the Japanese colonial rule and the 1970s, at the Hapcheon Image Theme Park, a large-scale filming venue that exhibits 150 model streets, buildings and houses from those times.

Several movies, including "Assassination," "Sunny" and "Taegukgi: Brotherhood of War," as well as TV dramas, including "East of Eden" and "Lights and Shadows," were filmed at the theme park with buildings and streets.

Visitors can rent old-style school uniforms and be a part of Seoul in the 1970s.

Haein Temple, also in Hapcheon, houses the Tripitaka Koreana, a collection of wooden printing blocks inscribed with Buddhist scriptures. Near the temple is the Tripitaka Koreana Record Culture Theme Park, which shows how and why the blocks were made.


Hoeryongpo Village surrounded by Naeseong River




A set of traditional liquor and side dishes shown at Samgang Inn in Yecheon, North Gyeongsang Province, which has a history dating back to the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910).

Hoeryongpo Village in Yecheon, North Gyeongsang Province, is famous for the dragon-shaped Naeseong River, a tributary of the Nakdong River, that surrounds it,

Often called "island on the land," the village is the filming location of TV drama "Autumn in My Heart" and can be reached via Bbyong Bbyong Bridge," which is made of steel plates with small holes.

Near the village is Samgang Inn, where merchants stayed and had meals before crossing the Nakdong River to head for Hanyang, then the capital of Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). The head of the last Joseon-style inn died in 2005, and the inn has since been designated as part of the region's cultural heritage. Villagers organize various activities for visitors to experience life in the Joseon era.


Joseon fortress in Suncheon


Tea lovers can learn tea ceremony at the Suncheon traditional wild tea center in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province.


Nakaneupseong (Nakan Fortress) in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, gives visitors a glimpse into a commoner's life during the Joseon era, with models of thatched-roofed houses and government buildings. People still live inside the fortress, where they raise crops and organize traditional craft activities for tourists.

Tea lovers can learn about tea preparation and tea ceremony at the Suncheon traditional wild tea center, and visitors can see the wetlands of Suncheon Bay, as well as various kinds of flowers that are now in full bloom, at Suncheon Bay National Garden.

The city of Suncheon also has Suncheon Open Film Set, a large-scale filming venue for dozens of soap operas and movies. It features sets for markets and housing from the 1950s to the 1980s, including for the TV drama "Love and Ambition" and the movie "Gangnam Blues."


Modern history in Gunsan


A child tries an old-style model telephone at the Gunsan Modern History Museum in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province.


The city of Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, is often referred to as an open museum of modern and contemporary history.

The Gunsan Modern History Museum, which opened in 2011, provides a history of the port city. Its most popular exhibition hall is one with model streets and buildings in the city in the 1930s.

Many historical buildings near the museum have also been preserved. The building were constructed in the 1920s and the 1930s, when financial institutions, trading companies and tax offices were set up in the port city, through which plundered rice and goods were transported to Japan during its colonial rule of Korea (1910-1945).

But perhaps one of the most popular destinations in Gunsan today is Lee Sung Dang bakery. It was established by a Japanese in the 1920s and was taken over and renamed by a Korean after the 1945 liberation. The small bakery is always crowded with people who come from across the country for its delicacies.


Baekje Kingdom in Gongju

Gongju, South Chungcheong Province, the former capital of the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C.-A.D. 660), has preserved many cultural artifacts from the period.

Gongsanseong (Gongsan Fortress) overlooking Geum River is also highly recommended. The tomb of King Muryeong gives a glimpse of the inner structure of royal tombs from that the time. The interiors of the tomb are currently closed for preservation, but visitors can view a model near the other royal tombs in Songsan-ri.

Those interested in learning more about ancient times can visit Seokjangni Museum, which exhibits artifacts that show how people lived on the Korean Peninsula in the Old Stone Age.

The ceramic art village on Mount Gyeryong, which was formed by ceramic artists to carry on the legacy of grayish-blue-celadon makers during the Joseon era, provides pottery making and other activities that children can enjoy.

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