Otgol Village: Gyeongju Choi Clan Residence

published by Devon Furbush

Imagine living in a small village that was once home to your great ancestors. More than 400 years ago the Gyeongju Choi clan, led by Choi Dong-jip, settled here on these grounds. Dong-jip was the son of Choi Gye who fought in the 1592 Imjin Japanese Invasion and also a former teacher of King Hyojong. In 1616, he established this village as a residence for his descendants. If you’re looking for a wholly traditional village, this is the one to see. But be mindful as people do currently reside in some of the homes.  

Though Otgol Village is indeed a treasure itself, there are two areas with great significance. I’ll first start with the trees. I forgot to get a photo of them, but there are zelkova trees lined up from the tourist info center to the entrance. It is said that they were planted so negative energy couldn’t put a hex on the peaceful community; a way of protecting the people from evil. At the entrance, the first site you’ll see is the two huge pagoda trees that are just as old as this village.  

The second place you need to see is the Baekbul-gotaek Head House. Not only is it #261 on the list of Important National Folklore Materials, but it is the oldest building remaining from the Joseon Dynasty in all of Daegu. Of course, this is a great place to learn about the homes and lifestyle of the yangban, the reigning class in the Joseon Dynasty. And if you truly want to feel like a yangban you can spend a night or two here and experience the lifestyle for yourself.  

I wasn’t able to get a ton of information about why the Gyeongju Clan decided to establish their roots at this Daegu village. However, I did learn a few things about one of the prominent residents. Choi Heung-won was a family-loving Confucian scholar who spent his entire life teaching and maintaining balance in life for the people. As a royal guard of the Crown Prince of King Jeongjo, he also established the Daemyo Shrine in 1711 and the Byeolmyo Shrine in 1737. Other areas in the village include the Bobondang Shrine which was used for sacrificial rituals, Jeongchim family quarters, Donggyejeong which was built in the memory of Choi Ju-jin (Heung-won’s son), and the Jeongnyeogak Monument that was built in the memory of Choi Heung-won.

Address: Otgol-ro 195-5 Dong-gu

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