Information on the Hoeryongpo Area

There are many places where rivers bend to form patterns like half moons in Korea since the geographical features are of senescence age and there are many mountains. The most famous place for such curved rivers would be Hahoe Village in Andong, where Queen Elizabeth II visited in April 1999. Hahoe is also the birthplace of a famous scholar family, Yoo Woon-yong, and Yoo Song-ryong. It is also where the Hahoe mask dance drama was first born.
Despite Hahoe's cultural characteristics and fame, taking simply the geographical features, Hoeryongpo, which is also called Euisongpo, should certainly be considered the most typical of river bends in Korea. In particular, Euisongpo is barely connected to the land and resembles an island castle surrounded by a moat, a pumpkin that seems as though it may drop off in any minute from the mainland.

The Hoeryongpo View Point on Mt. Biryong, behind Jang-ahn Temple

Walking up about 100 yards from the parking lot of Jang-ahn Temple, one reaches the view point of Hoeryongpo. From the top, Hoeryongpo looks like a round pancake. To see the whole area at once emits a strange feeling. One feels to be seeing through a fish-eye lens. Right in the center, lies a small village. It is surrounded by neatly divided square pieces of field and circumventing the island lies a sand beach as white as snow, and a blue river around the edge of the sand.
The stream is 15 meters deep and 80 meters wide. The villagers, therefore, live like any islanders. Buying up daily necessaries whenever the weather is extreme is a natural habit. In the past, the area was like an isolated exile place.
82-year-old Choi Kyoung-young, who came to Hoeryongpo to marry a Kim Chul-soo when she was 18, says the place is a livable place. Even during the Korean War, none of the soldiers from either side approached near the village. Many people living in nearby villages survived by hiding out there.
But for the shadows of three or four poplar trees around the riverbank, the soft sand beach is too hot in the summer. The best time to visit is in early autumn when the cool breeze starts to blow.

Captions by Ahn Joong-kuk


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