After our not so lucky trip to Taejongdae Park that left us soaking wet and cold, we were just about ready to throw in the towel and take the KTX back to Seoul. Luckily we didn't. After warming up with a sweet potato latte and some delicious pastries at Paris Baguette, we marched onwards to our second stop in Busan - the Gamcheon Culture Village. This turned out to be one of the highlights of my whole trip!
War refugees flocked to Busan during the Korean War as it was the only area in Korea which was free from the fighting. Many ended up building shacks in the Gamcheon Culture Village (aka Taegukdo Village) and calling the area home. Thanks to Cho Cholje, the founder of the Taeguk religion, the village developed and the shacks there were upgraded from being poorly built out of scraps, to being more properly built with brick walls but the neighbourhood remained one of the poorest in Busan.
In 2009, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism launched a project to repair buildings in the neighbourhood and also hired artists to install artwork in the area. In 2010, another project, the Miro Miro project (miro meaning maze) was launched. This saw more artwork installed within the maze-like alleys in neighbourhood. The end result? A wonderful area full of vibrant colours and unique artwork. Just a note though, if you do choose to come here, there are still people living in the houses in this village so please be respectful!
I really, really loved it here. Maybe if I let my photos do the talking you'll see why...
Hand painted fish signs lead us down the alleyways
Murals in the alleyways
Some of the artwork in the houses that the fish signs lead you to
This one was pretty cool. There was a motion detector so when you walked from one side of the room to the other, the hands started typing from one side to the other.
The Little Prince was there too!
Want to get here?
Hours: 9AM-5PM. Please be respectful of the residents who live here no matter what time you visit!
Entry fee: Free! But there is a map you can purchase and on this map you can collect stamps at different locations in the village. If you collect all the stamps you can collect a postcard.
Directions: From Busan Station, take subway line 1 to Toseong station. Leave the station from exit 6. At the intersection in front of the exit, turn right and walk until you get to a bus stop (in front of a cancer center/hospital). Take bus 2 or 2-2. The bus will take you up some windy streets to the top of the hill. Get off when you see the bright houses of the village!
As a side note, I woke up this morning to the news of the sunken ferry in Korea. This is a really tragic situation and I really sincerely hope that they will be able to find more survivors. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones.