South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Friday, May 1, 2015

Wandering at the Amazing Ihwa Mural Village

The yellow cat beaming with smile welcomes visitor to the village
(c) Jack Rusl
To be honest, I never heard about “Ihwa Mural Village” so it’s never been on my bucket list. I was just tagged along by my friends in a photowalk in Seoul and I have no single idea about the place we will visit. It’s one of those days when I just want to wander around and discover places I didn't know.  But sometimes, it is when you explore the unknown you will find great treasure that you could probably cherish, and this time, it’s the unforgettable walk in one of the most preserved places in Korea, the Ihwa Mural Village.

Like the Bukcheon Hanok Village, Ihwa Mural Village is an actual residential area too. However, unlike the Hanok Village, Ihwa is one place that you could think has been forgotten by rapid development. While Korea has gone a long way in terms of technology and architecture, Ihwa remains to be encapsulated in the early years of Korea.  I have no idea why, but maybe because the village is situated on Naksan, a mountain. Mountains could have trees and forest and whatnot, but Naksan is exceptional because it has a village on it, that is why they call Ihwa a moon village because it’s in a high place and is near the moon.

Some old houses with attractive paintings on its wall
(c) Kristine Bulanadi

But just because it’s an ancient village doesn't mean Korea should take it for granted, of course not, there are still people living in the village. What could have been a depressed area for not being able to go along with the development of the country is now one of the tourist attractions in Korea. A lot of us don’t know about the place but there are several tourists in the area when we went there. Instead of demolishing the village, the Korean government has found a way to make it look happy, they made a massive artistic and cultural make over.

The colorful walls on the way to Ihwa Mural Village
(c) Jack Rusl


The idea of the village revamp has not only made it a better place to live in but because it became a tourist destination, people living in the village start to convert their place into restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlor to earn revenues from the tourists.

Random art places
(c) Kristine Bulanadi


Today, people flock to Ihwa mural village to get a glimpse of the different murals which you can by the way see all over the area. The attractive paintings on the wall draw photographers and tourists to the place.

Paintings with positive message
(c) Jack Rusl


Several artists were hired just to fill the walls of the nearly dilapidated village with interesting paintings. That is why you will not find it boring because each painting has its own personality and different artistic touch. From colorful flowers to beaming sunshine and even animals.

One of the many animal paintings on the wall of Ihwa
(c) Jack Rusl

And not only the walls, even the stairs have their own share of arts from the creative minds of the painters. Look at this 3D-ish painting of the fishes in this stair. This makes climbing up the village bearable. Remember that this is a mountain village and it feels like a never ending uphill climb when you go to this village. But don't worry, there are concrete stairs for your convenience and not just stairs, there are painting like this that would make you feel welcomed when you step on it.

3D Fish painting on stairway

You will not only entertained by paintings when you go to this place. As I've said, it's a total art make over, and when we say art, it's not limited to painting. So there are some 3D arts that could amaze onlookers and visitors of the village.

3D art at random street at Ihwa
(c) Arman Carinan

Even if you are not really into arts and stuff like this, this place could unleash the inner artist in you because you can't help but appreciate every single masterpiece displayed at any random streets in Ihwa Mural Village.

Chicken made of metal
(c) Jack Rusl

When we reached the top of the mountain, we exited the village and it ended up with a wall lining from the top of the mountain all the way through the busy street of Seoul. But what amazed us when we were at the top is the view of part of the city Seoul.

View of the city of Seoul from the top of Naksan Mountain
(c) Arman Carinan

All I could uttered was "DAEBAK". I looked behind me and I saw the 21st centur-ish look of Seoul in the form of the Ihwa Village who stuck at the under-develop era of Seoul, but when I looked in front of me, I felt like time has fast forward into the modern Seoul where infrastructures and technologies are rapidly advancing. The place is so perfect if you want to compare the THEN and NOW Korea.

If you are interested to go to this place, it's so easy. Just take Seoul Subway Line Number 4, get off at Hyehwa Station and go to Exit 2. Once you exited, walk straight ahead for about 200 meters until you reached the street called Dongsung-gil, turn left and walk straight until you reached Lock Museum. Walk for about 50 meters and turn right onto the Naksan Gongson-gil where you can see the Naksan Park. Check out the maps available there to go to Ihwa Mural Village. Remember, it's a village with lots of alleys and streets, so you probably get yourself lost but don't worry, just have a map ready and keep exploring the area, Ihwa Mural Village is just around the corner.

23 comments:

  1. That artwork is so beautiful! It makes the city so colorful. I wish I could visit, but it would be a very long flight from here! There is so much hidden beauty in the world.

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  2. What a gorgeous place. I love all that artwork. The fish going down the stairs are exceptionally cool.

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  3. That artwork is fantastic. I think it's really impressive that the city has so much beautiful art all over the place like that.

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  4. Wow, what an amazing place that looks like. I absolutely love all the artwork! It is gorgeous.

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  5. This would be a great place to visit with my daughter. She would love to see all of the artwork with me!

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  6. That is fascinating and will definitely want to visit the Ihwa Mural Village. It is amazing how beautiful their murals are!

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  7. Wow how awesome. The artwork is pretty fantastic. Looks like a gorgeous place!

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  8. This place is amazing! I love all the art, and especially how colorful it all is! It would be amazing to see in person.

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  9. Wow, it all look so beautiful; a village covered in art is somewhere I'd love to visit!

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  10. I am loving these street artworks. The vibrant colors are beautiful. Nice photos!

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  11. This looks like an amazing place to visit indeed. I love all the art work there and it would be so awesome to see for sure. These are some gorgeous pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Beautiful! You managed to get a lot of wonderful shots. Thank you for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. those were not my photos, thanks to my friends.

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  13. Your beautiful pictures are awesome! It really does look like a great place to visit. Love the art work on the walls.

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  14. Wow, these murals are GORGEOUS! I love to see how a community will come together to create art experiences for everyone to enjoy.

    Amanda
    www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com

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  15. I am a huge lover of the arts, so this would be a great place for me to visit. I cannot believe how many different pieces of art are located within the Ihwa Mural Village.

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  16. I didn't even know this place existed. I am so glad you posted about this because now I want to make it a point to go. Looks beautiful.

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  17. My daughter always has me stop and pull over to take pictures pained on buildings and such. She'd have a wonderful time visiting here!

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  18. That would be an incredible place to visit. The murals are so intricate and varied. Any photographer should have this place on their bucket list. Would make for some great images.

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  19. Shabby Chic BohoMay 3, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Korea looks really beautiful destination this spring season, i love all your pictures.

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  20. I love seeing street art, it's truly art! I would love to visit!

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  21. The murals are fantastic. Gotta admire those people who have done those. I definitely would love to visit Korea someday.

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  22. Wow...I had no idea about the history and culture of the place, or that it'd become such a big tourist place. Very cool!

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