Namsangol Hanok Village

Namsangol Hanok Village is a traditional Korean village located right in the middle of Seoul. As the name suggests, it is located near Namsan mountain and Namsan/N Tower and Myeongdong, which I would both consider to be must-see attractions.

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Maybe the term ‘village’ is a bit of an exaggeration, but Namsangol gives you a great opportunity to get a glimpse of what live was like in the Joseon-era Korea. There are a bunch of reconstructed traditional houses from different classes of society, ranging from aristocrats to poor farmers. You can peek inside the houses and look at the furniture and interior design to get an interesting feel for what life may have been like back then.

To come back to a familiar theme of this blog: Namsangol, like so many of my favorite places in Seoul, feels like an oasis. I just love the feeling of ‘escaping’ (not that there’s anything wrong with it, mind you) modern and busy Seoul to find yourself in a place like this that really makes you appreciate Korean traditions and culture. It is located conveniently and offers some very scenic views with a traditional pond and the iconic Namsan tower in the background.

On a more personal note, this place is also where I found out about the passing of the great Muhammad Ali. This might give you an idea how bad I am at updating this blog. However, this was probably topped by finding out about Kimbo Slice’s passing in a cable car at Seoraksan National Park. Maybe I’ll get around to talking about that at some later date.

 

Another highlight was the taekwondo exhibition/performance/drama that took place while I visited. This was fantastic, since seeing a taekwondo exhibition was high on my to do list as a long-time watcher of martial arts. These can be found all over Seoul, but I had never gotten around to it. There’s one in Olympic Hall (I believe it’s called KICKS), and I saw some advertisments in Insa-dong. There are probably also exhibitions at the World Taekwondo Headquarters Kukkiwon from time to time, but it can be difficult to get information on these events. What I saw here certainly was less of a (practical) martial arts exhibition and more of a drama. The performers were not just pleased with performing jaw-dropping acrobatics, they had a full 30+ minutes play with a narrative arc. Nothing too complicated, and there was no dialogue, but it basically went like this: The taekwondo all stars(TM Konas) are living a happy and fulfilling life, but are then ambushed by the evil taekwondo demons. Then there are a bunch of fights, abductions, occult rituals, dramatic flips, all that fun stuff. Definitely a fascinating experience.

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