Yangdong Folk Village (Yangdong Village of Gyeongju) is a traditional yangban (Korean Aristocracy) village from the Joseon Dynasty. The village is located in Gangdong-myeon, sixteen kilometers northeast of Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea, along the Hyeongsan River. Mt. Seolchang stands to the north of the village. The village is designated as Important Folklore Materials No. 189 by the South Korean government.
The size, degree of preservation, numerous cultural assets, traditionalism, and beautiful natural setting all contribute to the importance of Yangdong Village. It is also a fine example of the yangban (Korean aristocracy) lifestyle and Neo-Confucian traditions.
The village is listed by the South Korean government with UNESCO as a World Heritage site, along with Hahoe Folk Village, in 2010.
The village was founded by Son So (孫昭 1433-1484). The household of the Wolseong Son clan was placed on an auspicious site according to Korean theories of pungsu (geomancy). Son So and his wife, the daughter of Yu Bok Ha, had a daughter who married Yi Beon of the Yeogang Yi family. This marriage produced one of the eighteen sages of Korea, Yi Unjeok. The village of Yangdong has continued since its auspicious beginning in the 15th century.
Although some parts of the village are unoccupied today, overall, the village has over 160 tile-roofed and thatched-roof homes built throughout the dense forest. Fifty-four historic homes over 200 years old have also been preserved. The village preserves folk customs as well as traditional buildings of the Joseon Dynasty architecture. Seobaekodang is the primary home of the Wolseong Son Family.
Mucheomdang is the primary house of the Yeogang Yi family. Hyangdan is National Treasure No. 412. Ihayangjeon and Simsujeong pavilions, along with the Ganghakdang village school, are also notable structures in the village, as well as Gwangajeong and Sonsoyeongjeong. Tonggamsokpyeon, a book printed on movable metal type and National Treasure No. 283, is also located in the village. A picture of the village welcomes visitors as they enter.
Important folk materials at the village include:
- Geunam Manor
- Dugok Manor
Other cultural properties include:
- Jeokgae Gongsin Nonsang Rokgwan (Tangible Cultural Property )
- Sonso’s Will (Tangible Cultural Property )
- Pine Tree in Yangdong
- Son Jong-ro Jeongchungbigak (Cultural Asset Material No. 261)
- Gyeongsan Seodang (Folk Cultural Asset Material)
- Dugok Yeongdang (Folk Cultural Asset Material).
The village follows the topography of the mountains and valleys and is shaped like an auspicious Hanja character. This arrangement has been carefully preserved. The homes of the Wolseong Son and Yeogang Yi clans, as well as their descendants’ homes, are located on the high ground of the mountains and valleys. The lower-class homes, characterized by their thatched roofs, were built on lower ground. The village’s organization highlights the severe social stratification characteristic of Joseon Dynasty society. Prince Charles visited Yangdong in 1993.