Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gangneung Seongyojang

Another of the wonderful places to visit in the Gyeongpo Lake area is Gangneung Seongyojang, or, The Hall Of Korean Cultural Experience. This is actually another of the historic lakeside residences, although it sits a little further away from the lake.
The sign out front has this information about Gangneung Seongyojang:
"Important Folklores Materials No. 5.
Seongyojang is a typical upper-class residence of the late Joseon Era.
It was built in 1703 by Yi Naebeon, a 11th generation descendent of Prince Hyoryeongdaegun.
The house comprises an Anchae (the women's quarters), a Yeolhwadang (the men's quarters), a Haengrangchae (servants quarters), a Dongbyeoldang (east wing guest room), a Seobyeoldang (west wing library), a Hwallaejeong (pavilion), and an annex building.
Seongyojang, though 300 years (10 generations) have passed since it's erection, preserves it's original form, and succeeds to the fame and tradition of Sadaebu (upper-class) house of the Joseon Era.
Seongyojang was designated a national property in 1965, and Joseon as Korea's best traditional house in the 20th century."
Ok Hwa and I visited Gangneung Seongyojang on Tuesday, April 14, a cool and windy day. We had visited some of the other historic lakeside homes at Gyeongpo Lake the day before, but she really wanted me to see this one.
We had to pay admission to get in the front gate, but it was inexpensive, and well worth it. This is another of those sprawling residences, similar to Ojukheon, with visitor amenities such as a dining hall, gift shop, gardens, and interpretive signs everywhere.
The main historical residence is a large complex of buildings set against the western side of a hill, surrounded by a stone wall. The flat ground between the home and the lake is occupied by agricultural fields. Some of the taller buildings of Gangneung University are visible in the distance across the lake to the south west. Otherwise you could easily imagine yourself in eighteenth century Korea.
Across the street from Gangneung Seongyojang is a large parking lot for tour buses, and a little store. We stopped by the little store first to get some coffee, and browse the merchandise. We ended up buying quite a few souvenirs from this handy little store.
Upon entering the grounds, we found that we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. There were a few groundskeepers about, but otherwise, no one. Excellent for taking pictures. We toured the place for an hour and a half, poking our noses in every corner. About half an hour before we left, a small group of middle aged tourists showed up, but we kept out of each other's way. A really great visit, with lots of pictures and videos to show for it.
After we left the grounds of Seongyojang, we went back across the street to the little store, bought our souvenirs, and headed to Gyeongpo Beach for lunch.
Here is a link to a slide show of the pictures I took at Seongyojang:
Here is a link to a video I shot at Seongyojang:
Here is video #2:
Here is video #3:
And, if you still haven't seen enough, here's video #4:
The official website of the Republic of Korea:

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