written by Devon Furbush
College campuses in South Korea always tend to have some hidden treasures if you’re willing to find them. In the case of Yeungnam University, seven traditional buildings from Chilgok, Andong, and Gyeongju were relocated here in the years between 1974 and 1976. The university transformed their existence into a vast folk village covering a whopping 70,000 square meters. This makes it the largest outdoor university museum in the country, and if that isn’t cool enough this village is Asia’s first unique museum of its kind. Here you can find a couple of private academies, a private residence, a peasant house, a pavilion, a library, and a home from Gyeongju with a specially designed roof. The village is at the very back of the university (about a 15-minute walk from the subway) so if you have a couple of hours to spare it is definitely worth the trip. These buildings give visitors a glimpse of how peacefully and normal the people of Joseon (old Korea) lived.
Gugye Seowon (private academy)
This complex consists of five areas: east wing library, west wing library, auditorium, shrine, and sanctuary gate. It was originally built in Andong in the year 1696. This was the place where the people dedicated their time to worship a great Confucian scholar named Yeokdong Utak. You can see weather erosion is inevitable as there are clear signs of reconstruction in the pillar bases.
Pine tree pavilion (Ssangsong jeong)
Originally built in a small county near Andong named Bonghwa, Confucian scholar Geum Hye (1399-1484) used this abode as his own private library. The name comes from the two pine trees he had planted nearby. Over the course of several hundred years it went through quite a number of renovations, so the front gate to enter the grounds is locked in order to preserve the surroundings.
Confucian scholar Geum Eunghyeop (1526-1586) used this building as a private academy and library. Highly regarded in terms of social status, he was a pupil of super scholar Yi Hwang and a king formally gave him an administrative position. During the construction of Andong dam, this building was almost swept away by the Nakdong River, so it was moved to this area. Fun fact: Geum Eunghyeop is a relative of the other guy above, Geum Hye.
Gable roof home from Gyeongju (Gyeongju matbae)
Taken from the excavated spot of a ravaged Buddhist temple in Gyeongju, this peasant home was considered architecturally minimalistic and it only housed two rooms, a hallway, and a very large kitchen.
Hwasan Seodang (private school)
This one has a pretty interesting history. Originally founded in 1651 on the base of Hwasan Mountain by Jang Kyeong-woo, 202 years later in 1853 it received the approval to be upgraded to a private academy (seowon). The upgrade also included a shrine for the founder and this location became the official place to follow the way of him. But with the abolition of privately-owned seowons in 1887, the shrine was taken away and only the lecture hall was kept when it got downgraded back to a seodang. While the gate and lecture hall became registered as local assets #220 in 1989, the main building began to wither away due to suburban modernization. In 2009 it was relocated here from Chilgok and restored to keep it from deteriorating.
Built in Andong by Yi Jungcheol (who was related to scholar Yi Hwang), this is the biggest home in theisfolk village. It has three sections: the sarangchae is where the males and their guests stayed, the anchae is separated by the main gate and it was used by the women, the outer room called the araechae housed more male servants. There is a really nice area in the middle that looks like a hang-out spot for everyone. If you look around you can see traditional farming equipment, too.
Magpie hole house (ggachi gumeong jip)
This Andong home gets its name from the square-shaped holes installed on the sides. The original location regularly experienced nasty weather, so rather than keep the farming equipment and facilities outside peasants opted to keep them all indoors. While this sounded like a great idea, the equipment often gave off horrible smells and humidity that stunk up the entire house. Therefore, the holes were installed for air ventilation.