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Seoul becomes a movie set

2008/11/27 | 701 views | Permalink | Source

This is the third in a series of articles highlighting tourism spots in Seoul. The useful guide for planning weekend trips in the capital city will help readers rediscover Seoul. - Ed.

Seoul is full of beautiful and charming spots and streets where thousands of beautiful scenes in movies and TV dramas have been shot. Take a walk and you can find yourself on the set of a film or drama.

'Winter Sonata' - Choongang High School

As you live your life, there is always a chance you could run into your first love some day. The fairy tale-like TV drama series "Winter Sonata", a story about childhood sweethearts who happen to meet again as adults, made the hero and the heroine stars at home and abroad.

The school scenes were shot in Choongang High School. The red-brick school with the old-world charm of a European private school was designed by the architect Park Dong-jin and built in 1908. All the buildings here are designated as cultural treasures. The majority of the tourists who visit the school are fans of the drama. The shops in front of the school have been turned into souvenir shops that sell various souvenirs related to the drama and Korean celebrities famous in other Asian countries.

Tourists are advised to visit the school between 6-7 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. or during the weekend in order not to disturb the students during school hours. The school, which was the cradle of the Korean independence movement, is open to tourists and visitors after 2 p.m. on Saturday and all day on Sunday.

Tip 1. Yu-jin's House: The name of the souvenir shop near the main gate of Choongang High School is "Yu-jin's House". The owner of the souvenir shop may be the best tour guide around, as he was the actual owner of the house when the drama was shot. For more information, call 010-3955-2417.

Tip 2. Bukchon Guesthouse: The house where Korea's renowned painter Bae Ryeom (1911-1968) lived is designated as registered cultural treasure No. 85, and is used as a guesthouse for foreign tourists. It is an elegant traditional wooden house with traditional clay walls, slide doors, and ondol floors. The garden in the courtyard is charming. Online booking for a tour guide, an interpreter, and transportation is available. For more information, call 02-743-8530 or visit Open the link

'Untold Scandal' - Namsangol Hanok Village

The Namsangol Hanok Village is situated at the foot of Seoul's Mount Nam. This is the place where curved tile roofs, wooden pillars with beautiful lines, elegant fences of traditional Korean-style houses, or "hanok", greet tourists and visitors.

The Namsangol Hanok Village features five restored houses lived in by various social classes, from high-ranking government officials to ordinary citizens. The hit film "Untold Scandal" was filmed here as it preserves furniture and all other household goods as they were. The movie, a Korean adaptation of the 18th-century French novel "Dangerous Liaisons", is a subtle love story about a cold-hearted playboy, Joseon's most seductive woman and a lofty widow. The film attracted much attention with its depiction of the luxurious lives of high-ranking government officials in the late 18th century in Korea, the film's beautiful hanbok (traditional clothing), and the beauty of the Namsangol Hanok Village. Walk like the hero for whom a single glance is enough to attract any woman, or poise yourself like the lead actress, who won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.

The backyard of the house where Yun Taek-young, the father-in-law of King Sunjong (1907-1910) lived, is the secret place in the film where Madam Jo hid her love letters to the young man next door. Also, the house of Park Yeong-hyo, a son-in-law of King Cheoljong (1849-1863), was the setting for the scene in which womanizer Jo-won rejected Madam Jo despite his love for her, saying, "I stopped Loving You at the very moment I felt your love for me".

The Namsangol Hanok Village also offers visitors an opportunity to experience cultural activities such as kite making, decorative knotting, arrow throwing and the Korean seesaw. In addition, it features the "Traditional Cultural Artwork Fading into Oblivion" exhibition until Dec. 24. Admission to the village is free. Guided tour in English is available at 3:30 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and noon and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The village is closed Tuesdays. For more detailed information, call 02-2266-6923 or visit Open the link

Tip. Korea House: The Korea House, which is accessible through a small gate from the Namsangol Hanok Village, is built on the site of scholar Park Paeng-nyeon's house. It was built by master carpenter Shin Eung-su, who is designated as an important intangible cultural asset. The Korea House is a complex cultural space where visitors can appreciate the beauty of Korea through Korea's traditional architecture, royal court food, handicrafts, folk music, traditional dance, traditional wedding ceremonies and others, all in one place. Lunch at the Korea House will be particularly memorable as the Korea House is famous for royal court cuisine. Korean royal court food is popular in some 60 countries around the world including Japan, Turkey, and Hungary thanks to the mega-hit TV drama series "Jewel in the Palace". Various Korean traditional art performances including pansori and fan dances are held everyday, along with special events (available for groups of 20 or more) such as kimchi making, traditional mask making, rice paper craft, held twice a day, at 9:00-11:00 a.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m., from Monday through Friday. For more information, call 02-2266-9101 or visit Open the link

'My Sassy Girl' - Yonsei University

Founded in 1885 as a private university, Yonsei University boasts classical architecture, and the beautiful campus is well tended, like a palace courtyard. At Yonsei University, it is not uncommon to find people with children or office workers walking around the campus taking photos. Also, Yonsei University is crowded with many foreign students who come to Korea to learn the language.

Yonsei University is a location much loved by film makers and the hit movie "My Sassy Girl" was shot here. In the movie about a girl who is too idiosyncratic and spontaneous to handle and her boyfriend too good to be true, the most hilarious is the scene in which she takes off her high heels and runs away in her boyfriend's sneakers. The scene where the boyfriend was struggling to walk in her stilettos was shot on the pretty path between Yonhui Hall (College of Social Science building) and Underwood Hall (Main Hall).

Tip. Hongik University Wall Painting Street: The Hongik University area near Yonsei University is famous for its mural-covered street. The street has been referred to as "Picasso Street" ever since the "Street Art Exhibition" was held here in 1993. The exhibition encompasses a variety of artistic activities including wall painting, installation art and the like. Among the various exhibits displayed during the exhibition, the wall paintings are the only ones that remain. Take a stroll on the street and enjoy the unique and youthful atmosphere that reminds one of SoHo in New York.

By Annabelle Lee /Travel writer

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