The Bukchon Hanok Village sits peacefully in central Seoul, waiting for visitors and locals to explore its picturesque and serene alleyways. While visiting this vibrant South Korean city, I was told that the village was an absolute “must” for any first-time visitor. It is, but it’s also a place I’d come back to, over and over, due to its charm and calm allure.
During the Joseon Dynasty, the village represented a traditional urban area where families lived and worked. The homes, called “hanok”, are part of the North village, which was where nobility and high-ranking officials lived. The village was built strategically between two palaces on a mountain with fresh water and positive yang energy. Hanok are typically single-story structures made of clay, wood and stone with ondol heated floors topped by curved tile roofs called giwa. In this part of Korea, they usually take the shape of the Korean letter “geok” (ㄱ) or “deegut” (ㄷ), which create a nice central courtyard. In the cold North, they are often square shaped to help retain heat, while the warmer southern region’s hanok can have an open “I” shape.
Not only is the history interesting, but families still live in these quarters today. It stands as a testament to how Koreans seamlessly blend the old and new. Don’t miss the chance to see it while visiting.