Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong
Location and site
Situated in the southeastern part of the Korean Peninsula, administratively, Andong belongs to Gyeongsangbuk-do. Andong is nestled in the bosom of the Baekdu Mountain Range, with Mt. Sobaek and Mt. Taebaek on both sides; the Nakdong River, the longest of its kinds in Korea, flows through it. Blessed with a beautiful and bountiful environment, Andong has a typical inland climate with four distinct seasons. Spreading over 1,521.82km2, Andong also boasts the largest area among 83 Korean cities, being 2.5 times bigger than the capital city Seoul and 82% than Jeju Island.
Literally meaning ‘peaceful land in the east,’ Andong is well known as a place of respect and courtesy and an heir to 5,000 years of traditions. Minimal interaction with outsiders due to an isolated location surrounded by two mountains allows it to retain unique folklore and color. A notable example can be shown in Hahoe Folk Village, a clan residence that showcases the vestiges of the prosperity of the Yangban culture. Yangban refers to the ruling class during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Formed in Joseon, Hahoe Folk Village still has residents and preserves Jonggajib, Sallimjib, Jeongsa, Jeongja, Seodang and Seowon in harmony with farmland and landscape. Hahoe Byeolsingut Talnori, a masked dance drama, has been passed down for more than 600 years in Hahoe Folk Village. Andong is also home to a variety of tangible and intangible assets, including rites, plays, writings and artwork. Though Andong, which houses the Andong Dam and the Im-ha Dam in the upper reaches of the Nakdong River, has optimal conditions for attracting industrial complexes, for the purposes of nature conservation, it promotes only the eco-friendly agriculture, bio-technology and tourism sectors.
Criterion (iii): Hahoe and Yangdong are two of the best preserved and representative examples of clan villages, a type of settlement characterizing the early part of the Joseon Dynasty. In their siting, planning and building traditions the two villages are an exceptional testimony to the Confucianism of the Joseon dynasty, which produced settlements that followed strict Confucian ideals over a period of some five hundred years.
Criterion (iv): The village ensembles of Hahoe and Yangdong reflect the impact of the Joseon Dynasty that profoundly influenced the development of the Korean peninsula over some five centuries. The villages, and particularly the ensemble of yangban and commoners’ houses, and their overall and individual planning, reflect the precepts of this Dynasty in terms of its social structures and cultural traditions as well as its power and influence and its literary, and philosophical traditions.
Founded in the 14th-15th centuries, Hahoe and Yangdong are seen as the two most representative historic clan villages in the Republic of Korea. Their layout and location – sheltered by forested mountains and facing out onto a river and open agricultural fields – reflect the distinctive aristocratic Confucian culture of the early part of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). The villages were located to provide both physical and spiritual nourishment from their surrounding landscapes. They include residences of the head families, together with substantial timber framed houses of other clan members, also pavilions, study halls, Confucian academies for learning, and clusters of one story mud-walled, thatched-roofed houses, formerly for commoners. The landscapes of mountains, trees and water around the village, framed in views from pavilions and retreats, were celebrated for their beauty by 17th and 18th century poets.
Mr. Young-sae Kweon
Andong City Government
Andong, Republic of Korea