Discover Suncheon, South Korea

Suncheon is a city in South Korea, located at the bottom of a bay, a little set back from the coast of the Korea Strait, an hour from Gwangju. It is currently experiencing strong economic development because it is at the center of the Gwangyang Bay Free Zone, which unites it with the cities of Yeosu and Gwangyang. The city is known for its Palma cultural festivals, Namdo food fair, and Nagan folk village where a Pungmul (or Nong-ak) competition is held. In 2013, it hosted the International Garden Exhibition.

Naganeupseong is a former administrative town and consists of three neighborhoods located inside the fortress walls, on a level field surrounded by mountains. It has preserved traditional elements such as a fortress, government buildings, and a cluster of private houses. The hanok style houses are distinguished from other historic villages because of their straw roofs, clay rooms, and Korean-style verandas. This difference is rooted in the fact that the town of Nagan was mainly inhabited by common people and not aristocrats.

Nowadays, there are still around 100 households living in the village, many of them farmers who still carry out the traditional values and arts of the region.

History

The fortress was constructed in 1397 during the rule of King Taejo of the Joseon dynasty, by General Kim Bin-gil after the defeat of the Wokou pirates to protect the area. It was surrounded by a sand wall but fortified with a stone wall during the rule of King Injo because of its difficulty in protecting the area against Japanese pirates. The project was carried out under the guidance of General Im Gyeong-eop (1594-1646), who served as the governor of Nagan from 1626 to 1628. When he died, a monumental house was built by the people of Nagan, still remaining in the village.

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The town has nine thatched-roof houses that were built in the 19th century and are designated as national heritage because they are valuable examples of the architecture of the South Jeolla region during the Joseon period.

Naganeupseong was designated as a National Heritage (Historic Site No. 302) in 1983, and since then, a series of projects have been conducted to preserve the village landscape. 231 houses remain in their original condition, and they are considered a valuable source for academic research. It was also included on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2010.

Cultural Events

The fortress and the village are home to various cultural events of the region. One of the most celebrated is the annual South Jeolla Food Festival, held every year in October, where people can enjoy and learn about the regional cuisine.

Nagan is also a venue for Korean traditional music, including “nongak,” farmer’s music, pansori, and communal rituals. Oh Tae-seok, a pansori artist popular when South Korea was under Japanese colonial rule, was born in the village, and his house is still preserved by the city of Suncheon.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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