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Places Full of Memories: Ihwa Mural Village and Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street

The end of the semester has come after spending our busy daily lives studying and working hard. Many people might not have had a chance to look around themselves. Some places that embody old memories of Korea are located around Sungyunkwan University (SKKU). Why don’t you regain your composure and wrap up your semester by visiting places full of memories of Korea? The Sungkyun Times (SKT) would like to introduce the beautiful Ihwa Mural Village and the Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street.

Ihwa Mural Village

-Introducing Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa-dong was once one of the top five attractions of the capital city of the Joseon Dynasty where the gentry enjoyed the arts. However, after liberation from Japan’s colonial occupation, the village was concentrated with aging houses and neglected as a poor village until the 2000s. In 2006, many residents, artists, and university students volunteered to make murals and sculptures in Ihwa-dong under the Art in the City campaign conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Furthermore, more professional artists and university students contributed their talents to improving the artwork’s quality and further creating paintings and sculptures. This beautiful Ihwa-dong became more popular after it was featured in the Korean TV shows: 2 Days & 1 Night and Rooftop Prince. As time passed by, several murals and sculptures in narrow alleys were demolished. However, many other works of art remain in the street, so you can enjoy them with the beautiful view of Seoul. There is also a place where you can borrow old school uniforms which you can wear and reminisce about the old days. Since Ihwa Mural Village is a residential place, make sure that you look around the village quietly. It is best to wear comfortable shoes as some streets are steep.

A Sculpture Pointing at the Namsan Tower

-Ways to Visit Ihwa Mural Village

Kingos of the Humanities and Social Sciences Campus can take bus Jongno 08 at Myeongnyun Market/Back Gate of SKKU and get off at Ihwa Crossroad Station. Then, walk for about 8 minutes to arrive at Ihwa Mural Village. Kingos of the Natural Sciences Campus can take bus No. 7800 from SKKU Station to Sadang Station. Then, take the Seoul Subway Line 4 until you arrive at Hyehwa Station and then walk about 15 minutes to get to the Ihwa Mural Village.

A Cute and Pretty Mural

-Regaining Composure

01 Murals and Sculptures

First of all, there are sculptures with the background of downtown Seoul. When you visit the village in the late afternoon, you can take pictures of businessman and dog sculptures with the Namsan Tower and sunset as the background. Other than the sculptures, there are cute and creative murals on houses’ walls and stairs. However, since the murals aren’t concentrated in just one area, it is recommended to walk around the alleys of the village to enjoy detailed murals more. You can have a relaxing and meditating walk by sightseeing the murals like trick arts and significant paintings.

A Sculpture with the Background of Seoul City/ A Heartwarming Mural

02 Live Well Memorial

In Ihwa Mural Village, there is a meaningful place named Live Well Educational Institute, which was built in 1965. When the institute closed in 1987, it was remodeled to memorialize the past education history. Back then, in this place, many young teachers volunteered to educate disadvantaged young teenagers, further producing about 3,600 graduates who adjusted well in society. Now, the memorial hall is open to the public at no cost and offers counseling sessions for teenagers to advise on their future. This memorial hall is relatively small yet has a lot of information to read, and the place radiates the passion that teachers and students had for education in the past.

Entrance of Live Well Memorial/ A Mural Inside the Memorial

Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street

-Introducing the Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street

Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street is a street built around the Pyeonghwa (Peace) Market in the 1960s. Back then, when used bookstores operated as street stalls, they lost their places due to the Cheonggyecheon restoration project. Therefore, those bookstores gathered together and created a street. Since this street reflects memories and images of the past, it was selected as a Seoul Future Heritage. The street bookstores have various secondhand books that are hard to find in usual secondhand bookshops. It would be meaningful to visit the street and feel the memories of touching and buying paper books as we did in the past, as we now live in an era where we read books through the internet. It is recommended to visit this street after going to Ihwa Mural Village because they are located close together. There are two ways to get to the Book Street from Ihwa Mural Village. First, if you like to look around and take a stroll, walk the path between Dongdaemun Station and Jongno 5-ga Station, which takes about 20 minutes. The other route is to take bus No. 301 from Chungsin-dong Station and get off at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Sation. Then, you can walk down the street, and this route also takes about 20 minutes.

Cheonggyecheon Secondhand Book Street

-Indulging in Reminiscence

01 The Vintage-Feeling Street

This street generally gives off a nostalgic atmosphere of the past which further creates the mood of the old days. The hat store located at the beginning of the street is the first to trigger nostalgia, followed by the piles of categorized books in front of the bookstores. Books piled high to the ceiling bring resemblance to how the bookstores from the past were. Additionally, the entrance of the bookstores and the worn-out hardwood reveal traces of past times.

Full of Books in the Store/ Piles of Books on the Street

02 Magazines and Books in Memories

In this street, there is everything from rare and specialized books to children’s books. Attractive past magazines and fairytales are on sale as well. People of various ages visit this place because antique books are hard to find in general bookstores. Young people also visit here as there are many comic books. People can buy and read these books, feeling nostalgic. In addition, people interested in vintage fashion are recommended to visit this street because numerous vintage and overseas fashion magazines are much more accessible. Since there are so many books, look around the book stores slowly and ask for help if you want a specific book.

An Example of a Rare Old Book/ Fashion Magazines

Ihwa Mural Village and Secondhand Book Street have long histories. Taking a slow walk around these places will help you ease your mind from the fast-changing city life. The SKT hopes you take a look at these places with the view of Seoul City and Cheonggyecheon Stream, and they will further lead you to look back on the first semester and make a fresh start.

이혜준  hj92823@g.skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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