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    Water Carrier Okdan Experience Course


    Mokpo Station

    Mokpo Ogeori (Five-Way Intersection)

    Former Dongbonwonsa Mokpo Branch (Now Ogeori Culture Center)

    Rodeo Plaza

    Norano Art Museum

    Mokpo Jeonggwangjeonghyewon

    Nojeokbong Peak

    Maningae Square

    Gujongmyeongbi Monument

    Bean Sprout Village

    Mokpo Former Youth Center

    Buljongdae

    Mokwon-dong Mural Alley

    Yudal Art Town

    Bukgyo-dong Cathedral

    Bukgyo Elementary School

    Yangdong Church

    Namjin's Birthplace

    Park Hwa-seong's Birthplace Site



    "Okdani Road" is a historical alley exploration route in Mokwon-dong, known as the "Heart of Mokpo," formed after the port opening. Okdan, the protagonist of the play "Okdan Oh!" by Cha Beom-Seok, a playwright from Mokpo, was a real-life figure who lived and worked as a water carrier in the alleys of old downtown Mokpo. Walking through various places in Mokwon-dong, where Okdan once traveled, visitors can experience the remnants of life and the back-alley scenery of our modern and contemporary history.






    Welcomed by the clear autumn sky, Mokpo Station marks the starting point of "Okdani Road," a historical alley exploration route themed around Okdan, a real-life water carrier from Mokwon-dong. The course, which takes about 3 hours on foot, offers insights into the lives of Koreans after the 1897 port opening and the traces of modern Mokpo city.


    < Mokpo Station >

    ☞ Address: 98 Yeongsan-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Exiting Mokpo Station onto the main road, signposts for Okdani Road leading to Ogeori (Five-Way Intersection) and Yudal Mountain appear. These signposts, conveniently located throughout the journey, guide visitors effectively through the Okdani experience.





    Mokpo Ogeori is a significant space symbolizing the roots of artistic and romantic Mokpo, located just a 3-minute walk from Mokpo Station. It's a junction where five roads, connecting Mokpo Station, Seonchang, the port opening area, Yudal Mountain, and the Korean village, meet. During the Japanese colonial era, it marked the boundary between Korean and Japanese residential areas and was known as a bustling street.


    <Mokpo Ogeori>

    ☞ Address: 98 Yeongsan-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do


     The next destination on Okdani Road is the former Dongbonwonsa Mokpo Branch, the first Japanese Buddhist temple in Mokpo, officially named 'Jinjong Daegokpa Dongbonwonsa.'





    Post-port opening, the area to the left became the Japanese residential new town, while the right side remained the Korean residential old downtown. The streets of the new town, where Japanese residents lived, are orderly and well-maintained, contrasting with the winding alleys and randomly built houses of the old downtown, the area of the Okdani Road course.

     

    This site originally received approval to establish Mokpo Shim Sang High School and served as the first official Japanese elementary school in Mokpo. After liberation, it was managed by Junggwangsa Temple, and from 1957, it was used as Mokpo Central Church, marking a unique transformation from a temple to a church. Since January 19, 2010, it has been operating as the Ogeori Culture Center, hosting various cultural events and exhibitions.


    < Former Dongbonwonsa Mokpo Branch (Registered Cultural Property No. 340) >

    ☞ Address: 5, 75beon-gil, Yeongsan-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do

    ☞ Contact: 061-245-8832

    ☞ Visitor Information:

    ◾ Hours: 9 AM - 6 PM / Admission: Free

    ◾ Closed on Mondays, Sundays, and public holidays



    The next stops on the Okdani Road experience are Rodeo Plaza and Norano Art Museum, with helpful signposts guiding the way.





    Walking from Mokpo Ogeori towards the pedestrian street, visitors will find Rodeo Plaza, a cultural and relaxation space in the city center for shoppers and young people. This area hosts various cultural festivals throughout the year and is a peaceful spot where people can enjoy leisurely activities, thanks to being a pedestrian street.


    < Rodeo Plaza >

    ☞ Address: 17, 75beon-gil, Yeongsan-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Next is Norano Art Museum. Originally the 'Norano Fashion Sewing School,' this building was left vacant for a long time before being transformed into a public art museum through the collective efforts of residents and artists.





    This area, known as 'Mabanggol (Horse Stable Valley)' during the Joseon Dynasty, was where horses used for communication were raised and managed. After the 1897 port opening, the Korean Empire government established and operated 'Uchesa' (Post Office) and 'Jeonbosa' (Telegraph Office) here. The development of postal and telegraph services symbolizes modernization, making this location significant in Mokpo's urban development.

     

    The nostalgic building, adorned with colorful paintings on its walls, left a lasting impression.


    < Norano Art Museum >

    ☞ Address: 2-6, 40beon-gil, Main gaeteor-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Our next destination is Nojeokbong, a place imbued with the spirit and soul of the respected Korean Admiral Yi Sun-sin. Located on Yudalsan Mountain, Nojeokbong, a mere 60-meter-high rock formation, played a pivotal role during the Imjin War as Admiral Yi Sun-sin utilized the terrain for psychological warfare against Japanese forces.






    During the war, especially during the crucial naval battle at Myeongnyang, where Admiral Yi triumphed with just twelve ships, the Korean military was significantly outnumbered and at the brink of collapse. At this critical juncture, Nojeokbong Peak played a vital role. When Japanese ships were scouting the Korean position from the sea, Admiral Yi cleverly used straw to cover the rocks of Nojeokbong, making it appear as if large stocks of military rations were stored there. He also had residents wear military uniforms and march around Nojeokbong Peak to create the illusion of a large army and scattered white clay in the Yeongsan River to mimic the appearance of rice washing water, leading the Japanese to believe that a significant Korean military force was present, eventually causing them to retreat. The tactical use of Nojeokbong Peak later inspired cultural traditions, evolving into the Ganggangsullae dance. Admiral Yi's extraordinary wisdom and formidable presence in the face of adversity made this visit particularly meaningful and pride-inducing as a descendant of the great leader.


    < Nojeokbong Peak >

    ☞ Address: 45, Nojeokbong-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    The next destination I visited was the old name of Mokpo, Maningae Square, referring to the hills around the parking lot of 'Jukdong Yukgeori'.





    It's derived from the culture of "Maningae" that flourished after Mokpo opened its port. It was a kind of lottery where people sold tickets and distributed dividends according to the rank in a draw. The name evolved into "Maingae" as it was easier to pronounce, and the current address is registered as "Maingae Square."

     

    On the day of the draw, numerous people gathered, creating a festival-like atmosphere. The proceeds from the sales were used to build public facilities in the Korean village, playing a significant role in the development of the original downtown Mokpo. The fact that there was a concept of 'lottery' even at that time, and that it was a festival for the development of the village, was a refreshing perspective.


    < Maningae Square>

    ☞ Address: 4, Main-Gae Square-ro 26beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    As if stepping back in time to become Okdan from that era, following the path led to the emergence of another historical marker, the Gujongmyeongbi Monument, located at the site of Mokpo's first police station. This monument commemorates Gu Jong-myeong, the last policeman of the Korean Empire.





    Gujongmyeong was a chief officer at the time, always standing up for Koreans during disputes between Japanese and Koreans. He represented the Koreans who lacked legal knowledge, collecting and submitting necessary documents to the court, becoming a shield for them.

     

    Despite being a strong advocate and protector for Koreans, Gujongmyeong is listed in the pro-Japanese personnel dictionary due to his role as a county head during the Japanese occupation, highlighting a bitter irony in history.


    < Gujongmyeongbi Monument (National Registered Cultural Heritage No. 43) >

    ☞ Address: 5, Sumun-ro 35beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    About 50 meters to the right of the Gujongmyeongbi Monument lies the Bean Sprout Village, intertwined with a sad history.




    Located next to the current Central Food Market, this alley village began to populate after the Korean War. People started living in makeshift homes and grew bean sprouts as a livelihood, selling them in nearby markets. Hence, this alleyway is known as 'Bean Sprout Village' or 'Bean Sprout Factory'.

     

    A unique feature of Bean Sprout Village is its unusually wide alleys, necessary for moving carts loaded with bean sprouts. Despite their poverty, the strong will of the ancestors who relied on each other in this village is palpable, leaving a poignant impression.


    < Bean Sprout Village >

    ☞ Address: 157-7, Namgyo-dong, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    The next destination, about 150 meters down from the entrance of Bean Sprout Village, is the Mokpo Former Youth Center, a facility built for the activities of the Mokpo Youth Association.


     



    The Mokpo Former Youth Center, completed in 1925 with donations from the Mokpo Youth Association during the Japanese occupation, was a modern building serving as a cultural salon for Mokpo youths and the city's first civic center.

     

    This place was a cradle of the national movement carried out by the youths of Mokpo during the Japanese occupation, deeply meaningful as a building erected and operated by our nation's independence.


    < Mokpo Former Youth Center (National Registered Cultural Heritage No. 43) >

    ☞ Address: 6-1, ChaBemseok-gil 35beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    The next place to experience on Okdani Road is Buljongdae, an intriguing and slightly unfamiliar site.





    Buljongdae, during the Japanese occupation, was a bell tower used to monitor fires in Korean villages and to others by ringing the bell in case of a fire. The 11-meter-high tower was located at the intersection connecting Namgyo-dong, Bukgyo-dong, Jukgyo-dong, and Yangdong, strategically placed for visibility in fire emergencies.

     

    Buljongdae was preserved until 1970, demolished, and then restored in 2017 across from its original site.




    Next to Buljongdae is an exhibition titled 'The Story of Korea's Firefighting History,' featuring the history of Buljongdae, including photos of firefighting equipment, promotional materials, and slogans from the past, adding to its interest.


    < Buljongdae >

    ☞ Address: 37, Namgyo-dong, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Following the signs to become Okdani, the charm of this journey lies in discovering these markers. I found myself searching for the Okdani Road signs whenever I entered an alley. The sign I encountered this time led to Mokwon-dong Mural Alley and Yudal Art Town.


     



    Mokwon-dong Mural Alley has been revived by local artists who painted charming murals along the maze-like alleyways. There are murals of various themes, many filled with old memories, allowing one to feel the nostalgia of the alleyway as they walk through.


    Mokwon-dong Mural Alley >

    ☞ Address: 10, Buljongdae, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Following the quaint mural alley, one reaches Yudal Art Town, located at the former site of Dalseong Elementary School.


     



    Yudal Art Town, also a filming location for the movie "The Classic," was previously known as 'Mokpo House of Culture' before becoming the current Yudal Art Town. Now, it houses the Mokpo Municipal National Music Institute and theater companies. The lobby displayed calligraphy and art pieces, seemingly by local residents and students.


    < Yudal Art Town >

    ☞ Address: 180, Yudal-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Outside Yudal Art Town are trails and paths connected to Yudalsan, a mountain representing Mokpo. Though I wanted to explore the Yudalsan walking trails, I had to hurry to the next Okdani experience site, reluctantly leaving with a longing heart. Another sign I encountered on my way back was for Bukgyo-dong Cathedral.


     





    Bukgyo-dong Cathedral is located on the site of the house of playwright Kim Woo-jin, who introduced modern drama to Korean literature and affectionately named the place 'Seongchiwon' during his lifetime. Later, this site was donated to the Catholic Diocese and became Bukgyo-dong Cathedral in 1958.

     

    As the third cathedral built in Mokpo, its well-maintained Virgin Mary garden, wide lawns, and playground offer a refreshing feeling akin to reaching the top of a mountain.


    < Bukgyo-dong Cathedra >

    ☞ Address: 1, Bukgyo-gil 17beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do







    Next, I arrived at Bukgyo Elementary School, located near the cathedral. Bukgyo Elementary School is the first modern primary school in Mokpo, situated in the Bukgyo area within Mokpo's oldest village, Ssanggyo Village, and the first primary school in Jeonnam, established concurrently with Mokpo's port opening in 1897.

    Notably, it's the alma mater of Kim Dae-jung, the 15th President of South Korea and the first Nobel Prize laureate from the country. A monument commemorating Kim Dae-jung and a memorial stone symbolizing the school's history are placed at the main gate.


    < Bukgyo Elementary Schools >

    ☞ Address: 83, Sumun-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Next to the side entrance of Bukgyo Elementary School, kindly indicated, is my next destination, Yangdong Church.


     




    Mokpo, due to its geographical advantages for inland and island missionary work, was selected as a new missionary base by American missionaries, foreseeing the opening of the port. Thus, Mokpo rapidly grew as a central area for missions in the southwest, with Yangdong Church being the first church in Jeonnam.

     

    With the port's opening in 1897, missionaries and believers started worship under a tent called 'Mokpo Church.' As the congregation grew, Yangdong Church was built at its current location in 1910.


     



    Notably, the church holds records of planning and leading the '4.8 Independence Movement' in Mokpo, akin to the '3.1 Movement', making it more than a religious facility but a significant historical site in Mokpo's modern history.


    < Yangdong Church (National Registered Cultural Heritage No. 114) >

    ☞ Address: 15, Honam-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    The next place was the birthplace of Namjin, Mokpo's iconic singer.


     




    Namjin, who followed in the footsteps of Lee Nan-young, famous for "Tears of Mokpo," is a popular singer from Mokpo. Loved by the public for hits like "Heartache," "Good Heart," "With You," "Empty Glass," "Nest," and appearing in over 60 films, he also had a successful acting career.

     

    His birthplace, built by his father, where Namjin was born and raised, is not open to the public, but there is a separate space for singing practice.

     

    Despite being an active singer nearing his 60th debut anniversary, the fact that his birthplace is a tourist attraction speaks volumes of his status as a significant star representing Mokpo.


    < Namjin's Birthplace >

    ☞ Address: 10, Honam-ro 58beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do



    Following the Okdani Road signs and wandering through the alleys of Mokwon-dong, I finally reached my last destination.


     




    Born in Mokwon-dong, Park Hwa-seong was the first Korean woman to publish a novel. Although now converted into a restaurant, this site marks the birthplace of Park Hwa-seong.

     

    Park Hwa-seong Park is located on the site of her workshop, and an exhibition room dedicated to her life and literature is set up in the Mokpo Literature Museum. Pledging to visit the park and exhibition room on my next trip to Mokpo, I reflected on her challenging journey as a female novelist.


    < Park Hwa-seong's Birthplace Site >

    ☞ Address: 19-1, Sumun-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do




    Mokwon-dong, the heart of Mokpo and the hub of commerce and modern culture created by Koreans. Walking these alleys, transforming into Okdani, was more than just traversing a path; it was a meaningful journey through the roads of Korea's modern history.

    Main Places

    관광지

    Mokpo Station

    4.5

    98 Yeongsan-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Honam-dong)

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    Mokpo Ogeori (Five Points)

    4.2

    98 Yeongsan-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Honam-dong)

    관광지

    Former Dongbonsa Temple Mokpo Annex

    4.8

    5, Yeongsan-ro 75beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Muan-dong)

    관광지

    Rodeo Square

    5.0

    19-1 Yeongsan-ro 75beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Jukdong) Jukdong 22 - 1

    관광지

    Norano Museum of Art.

    4.4

    2-6, Maingye-ro 40beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Jukdong) Norano Museum of Art

    관광지

    Nojeokbong Peak

    4.7

    45, Nojeokbong-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Sukhu-dong)

    관광지

    Maningyeteo

    4.0

    26beon-gil, Minegye-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, 4 (Jukgyo-dong) a world-wide meter

    관광지

    Gu, Jong-Myeong Monument (First Mokpo Police Station site)

    0.0

    35 beongi sumullo, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do to 5 (Jukdong, grass at Villa).

    관광지

    Mokpo Youth Center

    4.5

    6-1, Cha Bumseok-gil 35beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Namgyo-dong)

    관광지

    BulJongdae.

    4.6

    2, Manse-ro 2-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Namgyo-dong)

    관광지

    Mokwon-dong Mural Alley

    4.6

    4-3 (Jukgyo-dong), Open-gil 11, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do

    관광지

    Yudal Art Town

    4.0

    180 Yudal-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Jukgyo-dong) It used to be operated as a "Mokpo Culture House," but now Yudal Art Town has been established.

    관광지

    Bukgyo-dong Cathedral

    4.0

    1, Bukgyo-gil 17, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Bukgyo-dong)

    관광지

    Bukgyo Elementary School

    4.5

    83, Sumun-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Bukgyo-dong)

    관광지

    Yang-dong Church

    4.0

    15 Honam-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Yangdong)

    관광지

    Nam Jin Birthplace

    4.0

    10 Honam-ro 58beon-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Changpyeong-dong)

    관광지

    Park Hwa Seong Birthplace

    4.6

    19-1 floodgate-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Juk-dong)

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