Pungnam-dong Wansan-gu Jeonju-si Jeollabuk-do Province
Most attractive Korean style charm of an urban area
In 1410 King Taejong built the Eoyongjeon Halls (King’s Portrait Halls) in Wansan (Jeonju), Gyerim (Gyeongju) and Pyeongyang in order to enshrine the portrait of his father King Taejo, the founder of the Yi Dynasty. In 1442 (the 24th year of the reign of King Sejong) the Eoyongjeon Halls’ names were changed to Gyeonggijeon Hall in Jeonju, Jipgyeongjeon Hall in Gyeongju and Yeongjongjeon Hall in Pyeongyang. However, the founder King Taejo’s portraits enshrined in Jipgyeongjeon Hall and Yeongjongjeon Hall were burned during the Japanese invasion Imjinwaeran, and only one portrait (nominated as Treasure No. 931) enshrined in Gyeonggijeon Hall has been preserved to this day.
Gyeonggijeon Hall was nominated as Historic Site No. 339 on January 9, 1991 and is 49,527.4 square meters in area. But its area used to be much broader in the old days than it is today. During the Japanese colonial days, the western part of the hall area and the structures in the western part were removed to build an elementary school for the Japanese residents in the Jeonju area. Thereafter, the Gyeonggijeon Hall area was reduced by half.
At the Gyeonggijeon Hall area are such historic relics as the main hall - Jeongjeon - where an imitation of King Taejo’s portrait is enshrined, the Jogyeongmyo Shrine, where the ancestral tablet of Lee Han-gong, the founder of the Lee clan, is preserved, the Jeonjusago Warehouse where the historic documents of royal affairs of the Yi Dynasty are preserved and the Taesil, where the umbilical cord of King Yejong of the Joseon Kingdom is buried. In addition to these relics, several supplementary buildings are located in the Gyeonggijeon Hall area and as there are tall trees, beautiful flower beds and dense bamboo forest, the Gyeonggijeon Hall area forms a nice historic park.
The original portrait of King Taejo that had been hidden in Asan and Myohyangsan Mountain during the Japanese invasion Imjinwaeran and Jeongyujaeran returned to Gyeonggijeon Hall in 1614 when Gyeonggijeon Hall was renovated but it was hidden again at Wibongsanseong Fortress during the civil and farmers revolution (Donghakhyeokmyeong). King Taejo’s portrait currently preserved in the main hall of Gyeonggijeon is an imitation of the original portrait that was itself imitated in 1872 (the ninth year of the reign of King Gojong). The portrait is 150 centimeters wide and 218 centimeters long. The original portrait of King Taejo has been separately preserved in the holder of Kings’ Portraits Museum
Historic Jeondong Cathedral and Pungnammun Gate
On the opposite side of Gyeonggijeon Hall is Jeondong Cathedral nominated as Historic Site No. 288. Jeondong Cathedral is a grand cathedral with a Romanesque architecture style and is the one of the most graceful cathedrals in Korea, which is also the oldest western style architecture in the Honam area. The site was originally used by the local administration office in the old days and the first Catholic martyr in Korea was killed at the spot.
The history of Jeondong Cathedral began in 1889 when French Catholic Father Baudenet, who belonged to the foreign Catholic missionaries in Paris, purchased the site. Thereafter, Father Poisnel designed the cathedral building and the construction started in 1908 being completed in 1914. In 1988 some part of the cathedral buildings were destroyed by a fire.
Jeondong Cathedral is also popular as a location site where the hero and heroine of the movie “Yaksok” (Promise) had their lonely wedding ceremony. The large round ceiling and stained glass of the cathedral are very attractive. The exterior of the cathedral building piled up by red bricks on the granite base and the little bell towers on both sides of central bell tower look most sublime and holy. The white statue of Christ in front of the cathedral building adds to the beauty and grace of the cathedral, too.
In the middle of a crossroads near Gyeonggijeon Hall stands Pungnammun Gate (Treasure No. 308) that is the south gate of Jeongju-eupseong Walls. The gate was destroyed in 1597 (the 30th year of the reign of King Seonjo of the Yi Dynasty) during the Japanese invasion known as Jeongyujaeran and the destroyed parts of the wall and gate were reconstructed in 1734 (the 10th year of the reign of King Yeongjo) and the gate was renamed Myeonggyeonru (明見樓: clear observation pavilion). The name Pungnammun (豊南門: abundant south gate) was chosen by provincial governor Hong Nak-in in 1768 when he completed the reconstruction of the gate Myeonggyeonru that was burned down in 1767 (the 43th year of the reign of King Yeongjo). During the reign of King Sunjong, the walls and gate were removed according to urban development project but over three years from 1978, the walls and gates were restored again. The gate has three blocks in front and three blocks in both sides on the first floor and three blocks in front and one block on both sides on the second floor with a roof style of Paljakjibung that looks like Chinese letter eight (八) when viewed from the side.
Traditional Korean house village observed from Omokdae Hill
When tourists come to Jeonju-si, they do not miss the chance to visit the traditional Korean house village Hanokmaeul that is next to Gyeonggijeon Hall. Jeonju Hanokmaeul is composed of more than 700 traditional Korean houses at Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong in Jeonju-si and has well preserved traditional Korean style houses. Since the village was nominated as a traditional Korean house preservation area in 1977, the village had been called several different names such as Jeontong-hanokjigu (traditional Korean house district), Jeontong-munhwajiyeok (traditional culture district), Jeongtong-munhwaguyeok (traditional culture district) and Jeontong-munhwateukgu (special district for traditional culture) until the name of the village was changed to “Jeonju-hanok-maeul” (Jeonju traditional Korean house village) in October 2002 by the “public facility naming committee of Jeonju-si.”
Since 1930s traditional Korean houses began to be built in groups. As the Japanese colonial administrators made Jeon-Gun-gado Road between Jeonju and Gunsan in order to transport rice to Gunsan Port to ship it to Japan, the Jeonjubuseong Walls were destroyed and the Japanese residents who used to live outside the West Gate moved into the city ny entering through the Walls and then developed their commercial power in the city. Then the native Jeonju citizens began to live in clusters in their traditional Korean houses at the Gyo-dong and Pungnap-dong area as a demonstration of their opposition to the growing number of Japanese residents.
Omokdae Hill was built on the highest hill near Hanokmaeul Village in commemoration of General Yi Seong-gye’s victory over the invading Japanese pirates. If you hike on the Omokdae Hill, you can observe at a glance the whole Hanokmaeul Village and its well laid-out structure, and the wonderful and attractive charms of the traditional Korean houses with their black tile roofs and harmonious walls.
Jeonju Hanokmaeul Village has various cultural spaces and facilities including Jeongju-jeontong-munhwa center (Jeonju traditional cultural center) where visitors can observe the performances of traditional Korean folk songs and music such as Pansori, folk dance and traditional percussion music, Jeonju-jeontong-sul Museum (Jeonju’s traditional wine museum) where visitors can observe the traditional rice wine brewery processes of makgeolli and Cheongju and taste them, Jeonju-hanok-saenghwal-cheheomgwan (Jeonju traditional Korean house experience house) where visitors can observe and feel the charms of traditional Korean houses such as floor heating system Ondol, wooden floors and the artistic wooden doors covered with traditional Korean paper Hanji, and Jeonju Handcraft Exhibition Hall where people can observe and purchase the handcrafts produced in the Jeonju area.