Monday, 16 November 2015

Goguryeo Blacksmith Village, Achasan

A few months back I posted about Achasan (아차산), a mountain in Eastern Seoul, and mentioned that I was hoping to go back to visit the historic village there. This weekend, I did, and it was great!


Goguryeo Blacksmith Village (고구려 대장간마을) was built as a set for filming the TV drama '태왕사신기' ('Legend'), and replicates a Goguryeo era working village, complete with a large water mill wheel and a brick oven. Although originally built for film, it now serves as a historical attraction and has exhibiton rooms with various Goguryeo artifacts on display, including many that were actually excavated at Achasan. It's actually really cool and interesting, and I didn't even have to pay an entrance fee!

Inside one of the houses
Goguryeo (고구려) was one of the ancient 3 kingdoms of Korea, from 37 BC to 668 AD. The significance of building this village here at Achasan, is that the ruins of several Goguryeo era forts are located on the mountain. So if you want to do the historical trail and visit the fort sites, the blacksmith village would be a great place to include in your trip, just to see the era 'brought to life'.

To get there, take the subway line 5 to Gwangnaru station (광나루역), come out of exit 3 and walk straight a few metres to the bus stop. Take bus 1, 9, 15, 92, 93, 95, 96 or 97 to 우미내검문소/고구려 대장간마을 (only 2 stops away, but takes a few minutes). Then cross the main street and follow the signs.

Alternatively, you can go there at the end of your hike by following signs from up on the mountain.


If you want to hike the mountain after visiting the village, just walk across the car park, and you will see a trail entrance with a sign to 'Stone Face' (literally a big face in the stone). You can follow the sign to see that easily, or pick another trail. Personally I went to see the Stone Face and then just continued up towards 대성암. The trail was very easy and gentle, quiet with not many other hikers around, and absolutely beautiful with views of the river visible after only a few minutes hiking upwards.

A better translation would be 'Big Rock Face'
대성암
After passing 대성암, the trail got a tougher with a steep rocky part, but that was only for a short way and then I found myself on a popular main trail that was very busy with other hikers, but which offered some more beautiful views of the city. I saw signs to all the fort ruins, but just headed down back towards Gwangnaru subway station.


When I got to the bottom of the mountain, I found that Achasan had another surprise for me - an 'ecological park', which looked absolutely splendid in vibrant autumn colours! Seriously, for such a small mountain, it really is packed full of hidden treasures and just keeps surprising me with something I didn't expect every time I visit! I think it's becoming my favourite mountain in Seoul.

Achasan Ecological Park (아차산생태공원)
I really recommend this mountain if you want to hike in Seoul. You can pretty much just go there with no plan and start walking on any trail, and I'm sure you'll find something fantastic wherever you end up.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Korean Weekly Vocab

I've hit a point in my Korean studies where I'm needing to memorize big chunks of vocab at a faster rate than I'm able to actually put the words into practice in daily life. So I thought it would be helpful to me if I make some vocabulary blog posts, and I hope some of you out there may find it useful, too!

Here are this week's words: