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Where Korea's Traditional
And Modern Culture Live Together

Insa-dong Cultural Street

rom Anguk-dong rotary past the Insa-dong cross road unit 1 the Chongno 2-ga, narrow and dark streets like a spider web, but this is a place where you can experience the traditional and modern culture at the same time and tourist should visit here. Here you can find Dongmunkwan, the oldest bookstore in Seoul, about 50 places where they display Korean antiques and earthenware, traditional craft work, antique furniture, folk paintings etc. There are about 40 galleries where you can see Korean modern art at once.

There are about 20 places were you can see and buy Korean traditional costume 'Hanbok', ceramics and other souvenirs.

The best of all, there are about 70 teahouses and restaurants where you can have tea while listening to Kaya-gum, which is a Korean string instrument, and also taste Doenjang Soup and Korean traditional wine. This is why Insa-dong is often mentioned as the Street of traditional culture or lively street folk museum. In other words, Insa-dong is the place where you can see, listen and taste the Korean traditional and the modern culture.

Also it is specified as the a pedestrian zone from 10 am to 10 pm every Sunday and there are various events. New Italian and other foreign restaurants and fusion food restaurants have opened up recently as well. Since long ago Insa-dong was called Mary's alley among foreigners.

When you visit Insa-dong, there are two places you must visit Myongshindang and Kuich'on. Myongshindang is a shop where they sell Korean traditional writing materials such as brushes, ink stick, ink stone, paper and seal engravings.

In the old times when thre were no pens, ink was made by rubbing the ink stick and ink stone after pouring some water in it. You wet the brush in this ink that is prepared and the writing of this is called Seoye, a calligraphy. Even today many people do this for mind control. Jonkak is a stone stamp that has the engraving of the Soye. Even Queen Elizabeth II visited Myongsindang during her stay in Korea. Myongsindang is located at the Insa-dong intersection, across from the Hae Jeong Hospital. (Tel: 736-2466)

Kuichon is a small teahouse run by the wife of one of Korean famous poet Chon Sang Byung. Kuichon, which means going back to the sky and is also the title of Chon poet's poem that reads, "I will go back now, the day that picnic is over I will say that it was beautiful."

(Sourced from WHAT'S ON SEOUL)

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