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    Walking along Okdani Road with a Guide

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    #drive course #family trip #healing #history

    Walking with a Guide along Okdan's Path Course


    Maningae 6 Intersection (Maningae Welcome Center), Okdan Water Carrier Experience

    Rainbow Cloud Bridge

    Birthplace & Small Library of Cha Beom-Seok, Kim Sisters' Exhibition Hall

    Bukgyo-dong Hanok Street

    Mokwon-dong Mural Alley

    Bukgyo-dong Cathedral

    Bukgyo Elementary School

    Buljongdae

    Mokpo (Former) Youth Center

    Bean Sprout Village

    Former Dongbonwonsa Mokpo Branch (Now Ogeori Culture Center)





    After the port opening, in Mokwon-dong, the 'heart of Mokpo' and a Joseon-era Korean village, the 'Okdan's Path' has been established. Okdan was a real person who lived in the original downtown of Mokpo and was also the protagonist of the play "Okdan, oh!" by Mokpo-born playwright Cha Beom-Seok. Walking through various places in Mokwon-dong, where water carrier Okdan used to roam, one can glimpse into the life of that era and unexpectedly find themselves on a path through the modern history of Korea. Explore the backstreet scenery of our modern and contemporary history, tracing the life of Okdan with a 'smart docent' guide.



     


    The current location of the 'Maningae Welcome Center' is known as 'Jukdong 6 Intersection (former Maningae 6 Intersection)', an old place name in Mokpo referring to the hill area around the Jukdong 6 Intersection parking lot.

    'Maningae' was a type of lottery where tickets were sold to people, and dividends were distributed according to the draw. After the port opening in 1897, this became a popular culture. On the day of the draw, numerous people gathered, creating a festival atmosphere, and the proceeds were used to develop public facilities in the Joseon-era Korean village, significantly contributing to the development of the original downtown of Mokpo. The concept of a 'lottery' existing at that time and being a part of a village festival was quite fascinating.



     



    Below the Maningae Cultural Center, there are a well, a water carrier, and an Okdan sculpture installed for the 'Okdan Water Carrier Experience.' In modern times, where wells and water carriers are no longer common, it seems like a great place to experience life as 'Okdan' from that era with children.




     < Maningae 6 Intersection (Maningae Welcome Center) & Okdan Water Carrier Experience >

    ☞ Address: 31, Main gaeteor-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea









    The highlight of this theme trip is experiencing Okdani Road with the 'smart docent' guide on a mobile app. Arriving at each destination, the smart docent notifies me of my arrival and provides a detailed de ion and a friendly voice reading about the place.

     

    [Rainbow Cloud Bridge] Smart docent arrival notification, Okdani Road course, and de ions of the location





    Arriving at the beautifully painted 'Rainbow Cloud Bridge,' the view from both above and below the bridge is colorful and charming.




     


    Below the Rainbow Cloud Bridge, information about two prominent Mokpo artists is written on the walls 'heaven-sent dancer' Lee Mae-bang and renowned playwright Cha Beom-Seok. Listening to the smart docent'sfriendly guidance made understanding and appreciating these points of interest much easier.




    < Rainbow Cloud Bridge >

    ☞ Address: 16, Main gaeteor-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea






    The next destination with the insightful guidance of the smart docent was the Birthplace & Small Library of Cha Beom-Seok, briefly encountered at the Rainbow Cloud Bridge.






    In Bukgyo-dong, Mokpo, where playwright Cha Beom-Seok was born and raised, a small library bearing his name has been established next to his birthplace. The site, originally a parking lot, now houses Cha Beom-Seok's complete works and about 30 other books donated by his eldest daughter, Cha Hye-Young, along with literary works by authors from Mokpo.

     

    Cha Beom-Seok, a leading playwright and director who completed Korean realism in theater, has a small library in an alley that also produced other literary giants like essayist Kim Jin-seop, literary critic Kim Hyun, and playwright Kim Woo-jin. This alley is filled with stories of Mokpo artists who have blossomed Mokpo's culture and arts.



     


    < Cha Beom-Seok Small Library >

    ☞ Address: 27 Cha Beom-Seok-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea







    Continuing along Cha Beom-Seok Street in Bukgyo-dong, a neighborhood rich in artistic spirit in Mokpo, you'll find the Kim Sisters' Exhibition Hall.






    The Kim Sisters, a trio comprising two daughters and a niece of Lee Nan-young, who sang the famous song "Tears of Mokpo," were Korea's first female vocal group and pioneers in their field. In 1959, they were the first Asian act to break into the American music scene, a feat still highly regarded today.

     

    The Kim Sisters' Exhibition Hall houses Lee Nan-young's costumes, shoes, instruments, and activity photos, previously owned by the 'Mokpo's Tears Memorial Association.' It is operated by painter Jung Tae-kwan, who fully funded its establishment.

     

    In today's world, where K-POP is a global phenomenon, it's fascinating that the Kim Sisters and Lee Nan-young were at its inception. The exhibition offers various artifacts and videos, providing a walk down memory lane for older generations who lived through that era.





    < Kim Sisters' Exhibition Hall >

    ☞ Address: 3-1, 23beon-gil, Cha Beom-Seok-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea

    ☞ Admission: Free






    The next stop with the smart docent was Bukgyo-dong Hanok Street.




    Bukgyo-dong, also known as 'Ssanggyo-chon' for its two bridges, Namgyo and Bukgyo, is said to be the oldest village in Mokpo. Particularly, this area of Bukgyo-dong developed into a street of modern-style Hanok homes mainly inhabited by the affluent Korean class after the port opening. These Hanok buildings are valuable architectural relics, showcasing the evolution of traditional Korean houses and the lifestyle of Mokpo residents during the Japanese colonial period.



      


    < Bukgyo-dong Hanok Street >

    ☞ Address: 15-4 Buljongdae-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea





    Walking along the tranquil Hanok street, the next encounter was Mokwon-dong Mural Alley, filled with memories of the alleyways. Walking with the smart docent, following the signs of Okdani Road, added another layer of enjoyment.






    Located beneath the former Dalseong Elementary School, now Yu-dal Art Town, Mokwon-dong Mural Alley has been beautifully reborn with intricate murals painted by local artists. This alley features various themed murals, with many depicting old memories, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the nostalgic atmosphere of the alleyways.



     


    < Mokwon-dong Mural Alley >

    ☞ Address: 10 Buljongdae-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea









    Walking through the quaint and narrow mural alleys, emerging towards Yudal Art Town, and then onto the main road, the signposts for Okdani Road leading to Bukgyo-dong Cathedral and Bukgyo Elementary School reliably greet you. Each time you encounter these signposts on the road with the Smart Docent, it feels like a pleasant and reassuring meeting with an old friend.




     


    Bukgyo-dong Cathedral is located on the site of the former home of Kim Woo-jin, a playwright who introduced modern drama to the Korean literary world. He fondly called this place 'Seongchuiwon' during his lifetime. Later, the site was donated to the Catholic diocese and became the current Bukgyo-dong Cathedral in 1958. As the third cathedral built in Mokpo, it offers a refreshing atmosphere with its well-maintained gardens, spacious lawns, and playgrounds, similar to being atop a mountain.




    < Bukgyo-dong Cathedral >

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





    Following the signs, the next visit was to the nearby Bukgyo Elementary School.


    Bukgyo Elementary School, situated in the Bukgyo area of Ssanggyo-chon (Twin Bridges Village), the oldest village in Mokpo, is the city's first modern-style elementary school and the first elementary school in Jeollanam-do, established concurrently with the port opening in 1897.





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

     



    < Bukgyo Elementary School >

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





    The next destination on the Okdani Road was Buljongdae, a somewhat unfamiliar and intriguing site.


     


    Buljongdae was a kind of bell tower used during the Japanese colonial period to monitor fires in the Joseon-era Korean village. If a fire broke out, the bell was rung to the community. This 11-meter-tall tower was strategically located at the intersection connecting Namgyo-dong, Bukgyo-dong, Jukgyo-dong, and Yangdong. It was demolished in 1970 but was restored in 2017 opposite its original site.







    Part of Buljongdae features an exhibit titled 'The Story of Firefighting History in Korea,' showcasing the history of Buljongdae, firefighting equipment from different eras, promotional materials, and photos, making it an intriguing visit.



     


    < Buljongdae >

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




    Next on Okdani Road was the Mokpo (Former) Youth Center, a meeting facility built for activities of the 'Mokpo Youth Association.'



     


    The Mokpo Youth Center, completed in 1925 with funds raised by the Mokpo Youth Association during the Japanese colonial period, served as a cultural salon and the first civic hall for Mokpo's youth. It was a hub for national movements by Mokpo's youth during the colonial period and holds deep historical significance as a self-funded and operated building by our nation's youth.



     


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

    ☞ Address: 6-1, 35beon-gil, Cha Beom-Seok-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do, South Korea





    Continuing the journey, the next stop was Bean Sprout Village, a small alley village next to the large market (currently Central Food Market) in Mokpo.





    The curiosity about why it's called 'Bean Sprout Village' was soon answered with a sad history. After the Korean War, people began settling in this area, building shanties and growing bean sprouts to sell in the nearby market as a means of survival. Thus, the alley was nicknamed 'Bean Sprout Village' or 'Bean Sprout Factory.'

     

    What sets Bean Sprout Village apart from other alleys visited during Okdani Road is its relatively wider streets, necessary for residents to navigate with carts filled with bean sprouts. This place embodies the strong resilience of our ancestors who supported each other through poverty, leaving a profound impact on the heart.



     


    < Bean Sprout Village >

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






    The final destination of Okdani Road, guided by the smart docent, was the Former Dongbonwonsa Mokpo Branch (Now Ogeori Culture Center), the first Japanese Buddhist temple in Mokpo, officially known as 'Jinjong Daegokpa Dongbonwonsa.'




    Dongbonwonsa marks the divide between the Japanese settlement (left) and the Joseon-era Korean settlement (right) in Mokpo following the port opening. While the streets in the Japanese settlement are orderly and neat, the streets in the original downtown area of the Joseon-era Korean settlement, where the Okdani Road is located, are characterized by winding alleyways and haphazardly built houses.

     

    This site has a unique historical significance. Initially, it received approval to establish the Mokpo Shim Sang High School and operated as the first and official Japanese elementary school in Mokpo. After liberation, it was managed by Junggwangsa Temple and then, starting from 1957, it served as the Mokpo Central Church, marking a unique transformation from a temple to a church. On January 19, 2010, the site opened as Ogoli Culture Center and is now used for various cultural events and exhibitions.





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

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

    ☞ Contact: 061-245-8832

    ☞ Visitor Information

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

    ◾ Closed on Mondays, Sundays, and public holidays






    Walking the Okdani Road with the smart docent was an enriching solo journey. Accompanied by the smart docent, the experience was far from lonely and offered a wealth of information, making it a truly 'smart' exploration.

     

    The Mokpo Smart Docent app not only features the Okdani Road but also includes various other courses like the Gatbawi Cultural Course, Literary Path, and Modern Culture Course, making it a useful tool for tourists visiting Mokpo, depending on their preferred themes or areas. With audio guides for both adults and a simpler version for children, the app is an educational resource for all ages. Thanks to the smart docent, there is now another reason to look forward to the next trip to Mokpo!

    Main Places

    관광지

    Maningye 6 Points (Maningye Welcome Center), Okdani Water Carrier Experiencing

    4.0

    31, Maingye-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Juk-dong)

    관광지

    Mokpo Rainbow Overpass

    4.8

    16 Maingye-ro, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Jukgyo-dong) the area of Mokwon-dong

    관광지

    Cha Beom Seok Birthplace & Little Library, Kim Sisters Exhibition Hall

    4.0

    27 Cha Beom-seok-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Bukgyo-dong)

    관광지

    Bukgyo-dong Korean Houses Street

    5.0

    31 Bukgyo-gil, Mokpo-si, Jeollanam-do (Bukgyo-dong)

    관광지

    Mokwon-dong Mural Alley

    4.6

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

    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

    BulJongdae.

    4.6

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

    관광지

    Mokpo Youth Center

    4.5

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

    관광지

    Former Dongbonsa Temple Mokpo Annex

    4.8

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

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