Experience a Goguryeo Village Hidden in the Mountains

Nestled at the foot of Achasan (아차산) mountain in Eastern Seoul, is a historic village that's often overlooked by tourists to the city. If you can find it, though, it's well worth a visit.


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 exhibition rooms with authentic Goguryeo artifacts on display, including many that were excavated on site at Achasan.

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'. It's an interesting an educational tour for anyone who would like to see something a little different in Seoul, and only one of the many attractions this beautiful mountain has to offer.

Inside one of the houses

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 with absolutely beautiful views of the river visible after only a few minutes hiking upwards.

After passing 대성암, the trail got 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)

Achasan is a hidden gem of a mountain, and I really recommend visiting it 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.

DIRECTIONS

To get to Goguryeo Blacksmith Village, take the Seoul 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, if you start hiking Achasan from another point, you can reach the Blacksmith Village at the end of your hike by following signs from the mountain.

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