Founded over 400 years ago by villagers escaping the destruction from the 1592 Japanese invasion, this difficult to find traditional village is nestled in a secluded valley of Jiri-san. At its peak, the area had over 100 houses. During the Korean War, the village was destroyed to root out the Communist insurgents who hid in the area. Afterwards, about 30 families returned to the village to continue to live in the traditional way. These days, the village's 200 inhabitants live in about 30 traditional style houses. Although Korea has many "folk villages" where tourists can take pictures of people living in traditional style buildings, Koreans consider Ch'anghak-dong to be the most naturally traditional place in the country. The inhabitants live in stone or mud homes, wear old style clothing, and dry herbs and traditional bean paste.
jiri364.jpg Their children receive their education similar to the way children have studied for hundreds of year in Korea. In the village school, students sit cross-legged on the floor and learn Confucian classics from their teacher. The village is also renowned for an indigenous form of Taekwando characterized by its flowing, dance-like moves.
Many Koreans send their children to Cheonghak-dong's traditional schools for a vacation or weekend so they can learn Korean traditions or martial arts. Other sources of revenue come from its distinctive tasting honey and by selling snacks and trinkets to the thousands of tourists who arrive by the busload.
The villagers do not cut their hair. Doing so, they feel, would insult their ancestors. Many of them practice Yubulson Kaengjangyudogyo, a religion heavily influenced by Confucian values blended with elements from Taoism, Buddhism, and even Christianity. They also revere Tangun, the mythical half-god, half-bear father of all Koreans. (Nearby is Samseong-gung, a religious colony that worthips Tangun.) However, they do not completely forsake modern advances. Vending machines can be found along the footpaths that wind through the village, and villagers in traditional clothing can be seen washing their automobiles. Many homes have modern Korean gas stoves.
Directions: Gyeongbu Expressway -> Daegu Guma Expressway -> Masan(National Road #2) -> Jinju(National Road #2) -> Hoengcheon(Local Road #59) -> Cheonghak-dong
Source BYJ Gallery~ by vento
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