My nephew’s wife (would that be my niece-in-law?) is a lovely Korean girl. So I guess it was just a matter of time that there was a family vacation to Korea to get to know the culture better and that is what we did last September.
We did make a trip to Gangnam to witness the Gangnam Style made famous by Psy ( the ladies wanted to do some shopping) but for me, it was just a cityscape like you could find almost anywhere in the world and filled with overpriced designer goods. So the real Gangnam like the Gangnam Style video just left me cold.
Instead, the highlight of the trip for me was our visit to Andong Hahoe Village. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a snapshot of Korean life that has remained relatively unchanged since the Joseon Dynasty at around the 16th Century.
Hahoe Village is beautifully located within a bend of the tranquil Nakdong River with beautiful sandy beaches and the imposing Buyongdae Cliff on the opposite bank. It’s name actually means “Village that is enveloped by water”.
Its buildings represent the architecture of the 16th Century and the Confucianism philosophy ascendent at that time. Indeed the village was suppose to be an incubator of intellectuals and court officials of the Joseon Dynasty.
However, what really makes this special is that the place (unlike many) has not been put on for tourists – it is still very much a real, working, living village with the villagers still living a mostly traditional life. A real time capsule with insight to the Korean psyche.
The villagers still work the land. Paddy fields, vegetable gardens, and orchards are found both in and around the village. Traditional crafts like mask making are still practiced and traditional costumes are still worn especially at weekends.
I loved the place. Hope you will enjoy the photos (all photos by LGS).
Oh, and the beef bbq Korean style in Andong is mucho delicious. A must try.