Page 1


Meet Ara and her friends Chapter 1

Welcome to Korea 005_Let’s Learn about Korea! 006_Seoul, International City 020_Seoul Forest 022_Namsan Mountain 025_Let’s Learn Korean! 026_Map of Seoul 028_Tourist Sites in Seoul 030_Fabulous Seoul Plaza 032_Folk Tale: The Old Men with Lumps Chapter 2

Traditional Culture 039_Korean Folk Village 045_Let’s Look at a Hanok! 046_Samulnori 049_Korean Folk Games 050_Insadong 052_Traditional Village 055_Representative Hanok Villages 056_Graceful Hanbok 058_Delicious Korean Food 060_Folk Tale: The Brother and the Sister Who

Turned into the Sun and the Moon

Chapter 3

Gyeongju, a Historic City 067_Cheomseongdae 070_The National Museum of Gyeongju 071_The Gyeongju National Museum at a Glance 075_The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great 078_Relics at the Gyeongju National Museum 080_Bulguksa Temple and Seokgulam Grotto 082_Let’s Learn about Bulguksa Temple 086_Korea’s History at a Glance 096_Folk Tale: The Fairy and the Woodcutter Chapter 4

Education and Royal Palaces 100_Respect to the Eldely 106_IT Powerhouse 108_Korea, an Economic Powerhouse 110_Daehangno 114_Changgyeong Palace 118_Royal Palaces 120_The Korean Wave 122_Folk Tale: The Tiger and Grandma’s Red Bean Porridge Chapter 5

Remarkable Economic Development 126_A Divided Nation 134_The World Cup Stadium 136_Beautiful Ecological Park 140_Korea in the World of Sports 142_World Renowned Artists of Korea 144_Folk Tale: The Bride

Who Openly Farted

A letter from Marina A letter from Carlos

Meet Ara and her friends

Ara Shin (Age 10) A Korean girl who lived in China for a brief period because of her father’s job. She is learning piano now and is very lively and sociable.

Marina Schiller (Age 11) A German girl who has returned to Germany after spending a year at an international school in China, where she became friends with Ara and Carlos. She began learning Korean after watching the famous Korean drama Daejangkeum.

Carlos Valdez (Age 10) A boy from the United States who lives in China with his parents. He currently attends an international school there but will return to the U.S. soon. He got interested in Korea after learning the Korean martial art taekwondo.

Hyunsoo Kong (Age 27) Ara’s uncle. He majors in international relations at his university. He is preparing to resume his studies after completing his mandatory military service.

Ara’s grandmother (Age 68) Ara’s grandmother runs a guesthouse in Bukchon Village. She loves gardening, so she likes to call the guesthouse her Big Garden.

Chapter 01

My name is Ara Shin. I went to an international school in Beijing for about two years while my father was working there.That is where I met some very special friends.This summer, Marina and Carlos are coming to Korea to visit me. As a matter of fact, today is the day!


Bukchon Traditional 9 Village Hanok

Ara hurries to her grandmother’s guesthouse. It’s going to be one busy week for Ara since she will be hosting some very special guests. “Grandma, I’m here!” “Good to see you, Ara. But where’s your uncle, Hyunsoo?” Scenes of Seoul Seoul is the capital of Korea. The River Han flows through the capital, dividing Seoul into southern and northern parts. Korea’s capital since 1394, Seoul has been the center of Korea’s politics, economy, industry, culture and transportation.


Grandmother shouts toward uncle’s room. The guesthouse is located in historical Bukchon, the heart of the ancient capital. Grandmother’s guesthouse is famous for her beautiful flowers and the guests here call the place the Big Garden. “Please, Mom. The flight is supposed to arrive at 10 o’clock. We still have a lot of time,” Hyunsoo answers.

Bukchon Traditional Hanok Village Located in Seoul, Bukchon village is home to traditional Korean houses where early Koreans used to live. The Metropolitan Government of Seoul has built a pavilion to showcase how Korea’s upper class Yangban used to live.

“We shouldn’t make our guests wait, Hyunsoo. It’s always better to be there earlier.” “Don’t worry. I won’t be late. Besides, I haven’t recovered from jet lag myself, you know. Remember, I just returned home from volunteer work in Africa yesterday? Well, I guess we’d better get going Ara, if we’re to avoid a lecture.” Ara followed her uncle Hyunsoo with a smile. He has offered to be the guide for her friends. “So, these are your friends from Beijing International School? You must be excited to see them again.” 11

“I used to teach them Korean in the Korean language club. I’m going to see if they forgot what I taught them.” “Why are they bothering to learn Korean in the first place anyway?” “It just shows how Korea is becoming popular nowadays, uncle!” “Well, I admire their effort.” It was almost 11 when Ara could finally see her friends. Marina came all the way from Germany while Carlos, who still attends the Beijing International School flew in from China. Marina and Carlos introduced themselves to Ara’s


uncle in Korean.

Incheon International Airport Passenger Terminal

“Hello, I’m Marina Schiller. I’m from Germany.” “Nice to meet you, sir. I’m Carlos Valdez and I’m from the United States of America.” “Wow, you guys are truly international friends. Ha-ha, it’s good to meet you all. I’m Ara’s uncle Hyunsoo Kong. You

Bibimbap Literally means “mixed rice meal.” The dish is served with seasoned vegetables, sliced meat and various garnishes. Sesame oil and other spices and condiments are usually added before being mixed.

must be tired after a long flight?” Marina shook her head in reply. “The staff on the Korean airline were so friendly, and I love what they served on the flight. The bibimbap was so delicious 13

that I feel reinvigorated.” The thought of bibimbap made Marina’s mouth water once again. “The airport here is simply awesome!” said Carlos as he Tourist info center at Incheon International Airport

looked around the airport. All along, Carlos had thought that the biggest and nicest airports were those in his home country. But the sheer size and the state-of-the-art facilities at Incheon International Airport changed his view completely. With all the signs marked in English, it was easy to get around as well. Ara’s uncle spoke looking into the eyes of the three children. “Call me your captain for the week. I’ll be taking you to every corner of Korea.”

Inside Incheon International Airport As Korea’s gateway, most of the international flights to and from Korea operate via this airport. It s been ranked the world’s number one airport of the year for four consecutive years in the airport service evaluation conducted by the ACI.


Let’s Learn about Korea!

Gangwon Province Seoul Metropolitan City Incheon Metropolitan City

Ulleungdo N. Chungcheong Province

Gyeonggi Province

Daejeon Metropolitan City Daegu

S. Chungcheong Province

Dokdo N. Gyeongsang Province

Metropolitan City N. Jeolla Province S. Gyeongsang Province

Gwangju Metropolitan City S. Jeolla Province

Ulsan Metropolitan City

Busan Metropolitan City

Jeju Island

Korea is situated at the eastern end of the Asian continent. It is a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. To the west lies China, to the east Japan and to the south the Pacific Ocean. Korea is made of 7 Metropolitan Governments and 9 Provinces.


Seoul International City The vehicle picked up speed on the long express-way. After a while, the streets of Seoul came into sight. “There are so many people and high-rises!” said Carlos. Cheongwadae Korea’s Presidential Office and Residence in Jongno, Seoul. The name “Blue House” comes from the main building’s blue roof.

“Seoul is rapidly growing and is quikly emerging as an international city. As the capital, Seoul is the center of Korea’s politics, economy and culture. Seoul is home to the Presidential Office, Cheong Wa Dae, and many government offices, as well as financial institutions, museums, art galleries and other various cultural institutions.” “I remember seeing Seoul on TV.”

Night scene of Seoul


Seoul Olympics Korea hosted the 24th Summer Olympics in 1988. Korea was the second country in Asia and the 16th country in the world to host the global sporting gala.

“Seoul hosted the 1986 Asian Games, 1988 Summer Olympics and 2002 World Cup games among other global events. Koreans are known for their passion and spirit of cooperation. That’s probably why Korea was able to develop so fast in such a short span of time.” Ara’s uncle smiled with a sense of pride. “Wait a minute, I have something to show you.”

Burj Dubai The world’s highest building and artificial structure currently being built in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Samsung Corporation is part of the construction consortium to build the 810-meter-tall, 160story skyscraper, covering 495,867 sq. meters.

Marina opened her bag and took out her digital camera. “Before coming to Korea, I went to Dubai. I heard that Koreans were building a 160-story skyscraper there!” Startled by what Marina said, Ara asked her uncle. “Captain, is this true?” “That’s right. It’s called Burj Dubai. It means Tower of Dubai and is going to be the tallest building in the world when completed. It’s supposed to be higher than 810 meters tall. A 17

Korean construction company is taking part in one of the world’s largest special engineering projects.” Carlos looked into Marina’s digital camera with curiosity. Ara thought to herself that she would also like to visit the building with her uncle. “There’s the Han River!” A long and wide river appeared before the children’s eyes. Han River “Han” means great, large, long in Korean. There are more than 20 bridges over the Han River. They serve a crucial role in Seoul’s transportation.

Some people were fishing and others were riding bicycles listening to music with their earphones on. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

River Han at night

nlight er moo d n u in ta w foun Rainbo Festival on th e Han


er Han Riv e h t n to re boa Pleasu Swimming p ool at the Ha n

River bank

Seoul Forest Ara, Marina and Carlos shouted after seeing water spewing out from the ground fountain. Several children were running between streams of water, drenched to their skin. The Ground Fountain

“When you think of big metropolises, you usually imagine dull grey cities packed with tall buildings, right? But Seoul is different. Along the banks of the Han River flowing through Seoul, we have 12 beautiful public parks.” “There are 12 parks like this?” “Yup. This is the Seoul Forest created in Ttukseom in 2005.

Seoul Forest The Seoul Metropolitan Government created a massive urban forest in the Ttukseom sports complex area, benchmarking Central Park in New York City. The Seoul Forest is home to five theme parks that represent a natural forest.

It’s divided into five major sections with special themes like arts and culture, ecological woods, learning shelters, wetlands and park areas along the banks of the Han River. Approximately 420,000 trees consisting of 110 different

species emit fresh oxygen year round. People come and visit Seoul Forest whenever they like, and here they can learn something about nature while enjoying various outdoor activities.” Carlos really liked the Han River. He thought that it would be really cool to feel the fresh breeze after playing a game of basketball there. “Now, shall we go and feed some deer?” “Deer?” “Yes, deer. You can feed them yourself in the ecological woods section.” “I can’t wait to see them! Deer!” Marina couldn’t hide her excitement 21

“And that’s not all. In the culture and art section, there’s a water fountain that dances to music.” Carlos couldn’t believe his ears. It sounded like The N Seoul Tower

the park was a magical place with surprises hidden at every corner.

Namsan Mountain Soon as dusk set on the Han River, lights on the bridges and buildings along the riverside began to light up. Bridges over the Han River looked even more beautiful with lighting. “Now, we’re going to the heart of Seoul, Namsan Mountain.” “I can see the whole city from here.” “Originally, the N Seoul Tower was Korea’s first radio

tower and was one of Korea’s tallest structures. Today, it’s more famous as a tourist site for its beautiful night view of Seoul.” Looking out the window at the N Seoul Tower, the kids stood speechless. The Captain pointed at the soaring structure and told them that it was the 63 Building. He explained that it was one of Korea’s tallest structures with an observatory, aquarium and a cinema complex. He added, however, that a 100-story building will soon be built in Korea. “Isn’t it difficult to speak Korean?” asked the Captain all of a sudden.

63 Building Located in Yeoido, Seoul, it is the third tallest building in Korea. With an observatory, aquarium, movie theater and other various entertainment facilities, the 63 Building is popular among tourists.

“It was at first, but now that I learned the basics, it’s actually quite simple. One sound per syllable. Once you learn the 14 consonants and 10 vowels, it s really fun to learn Korean.”


“Actually, that’s true. Many world renowned linguists have praised the Korean alphabet as a brilliant language system. Oxford University in Britain once evaluated diverse languages of the world and it ranked Hangeul, the Korean alphaNamsan Mountain The 262 meter-high Namsan Mountain is located between Seoul’s Jung-gu and Yongsan-gu. Covered with various types of trees, Namsan provides a green view in the heart of Seoul. People can get an open view of downtown Seoul from atop it. There is the N Seoul Tower, cable cars, botanical garden and a library at the Namsan Park.

bet, as the most scientific, rational, creative and pragmatic of all alphabets.” “I want to improve my Korean more, so that next time I visit Korea, I can bring my family with me and be their guide.” “If you keep practicing, your Korean will improve quickly. Anyway, shall we go down now? Your grandmother called just a while ago and told me that dinner’s ready.” The Captain and the kids walked to the parking lot.

Namsan Beacon Tower An ancient means of communication to signal an emergency or enemy invasion with smoke during the day and fire at night.

Let’s Learn Korean! Many languages are written with foreign alphabets: English uses Roman letters, Mongolian uses Cyrillic. Early Koreans used only Chinese characters. But in the 15th century a Korean king ordered the creation of a new alphabet to make it easier for people to read and write Korean words. King Sejong the Great worked with court scholars to make Hangeul, the Korean alphabet. The vowels are drawn from three shapes — for land, | for man, and . for sky. The consonants shapes reflect the position that the tongue, lips and teeth are in for those sounds. (1) Vowels are transcribed as follows: simple vowels


Note 1 Note 2

(2) Consonants are transcribed as follows: plosives(stops)





Note 1


Note 2 e.g


Map of Seoul Seoul is the capital of Korea. It is surrounded by four mountains. The downtown area is like a forest of buildings. With an endless number of cars. Seoul has been the center of Korea s politics, economy, industry, culture and transportation for many centuries. Although it was mostly destroyed in the Korean War, Seoul has quickly emerged as an international city.


Hanuel Park

Seoul World Cup Stadium Gimpo Airport

Dobong Mountain

Surak Mountain

Korea National Training Center Bukhansan National Park

Changdeok Palace

Cheong Wa Dae

Changgyeon Palace

Gyeongbok Palace

Jongmyo Shrine

Sejong Center for the Peforming Arts

Gwanghwamun Gate Independence Gate

Seodaemun Gate Prison

Bosingak Deoksu Palace

Namdaemun Market


Cheonggyecheon Stream

Namsan Hanok Village

National Assembly

N Seoul Tower

Amsadong Prehistoric Site Seoul Forest

Seoul Children’s Grand Park

Seoul Station

63 building

National Museum of Korea Apgujeong

Lotte World

Jamsil Stadium Seoul National Cemetry

Supreme Court


Olympic Park

Seoul Arts Center Seoul National University

Citizen’s Forest

27 Gwanak Mountain


Tourist Sites in Seoul Dongdaemun Market(above) This is a fashion mecca with various entertainment facilities. Many tourists, especially from Japan and Southeast Asia visit here.

Myeong-dong(below) This is where the latest trends can be spotted. Also it has Korea’s most famous Catholic church Myeong-dong Cathedral.


Namdaemun Market

Seoul Grand Park

Street of culture at Hyehwa station. It is home to various troupes and performing arts groups, spanning from drama, to films and musicals. With an outdoor stage, Marronier Park is always packed with young people who want to enjoy the outdoor music concerts, poetry readings and other performances.

This is a world-renowned traditional market with 10,000 shops. Over 300,000 people visit the market daily.

Located in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, it is home to Korea’s largest zoo and botanical garden. The compound also has an amusement park called Seoul Land, attracting many residents in the metropolitan area for daily visits. It is home to more than 3,000 animals from over 366 species.

The National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea

Olympic Park

The museum was originally built in Gyeong- bok Palace, but moved to in Yongsan-gu in 2005. It was built to preserve and showcase Korea’s cultural heritage and house research on historic relics. The museum has a collection of 135,000 relics spanning from the Three King- dom’s Period to the Joseon Dynasty as well as treasures of Buddhist art.

Situated in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province. It originally opened at a small exhibition hall in Gyeongbok Palace but moved to the current location in 1986. It has a collection of about 5,000 works of art and serves as an educational and cultural venue for residents in the metropolitan area.

A huge park in Songpa-gu, Seoul, built ahead of the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics. Today, the park serves as a venue for various activities, including sports, culture and art, education as well as leisure.


all y City H b in a t n ter fou The wa


The big plaza in front of Seoul City Hall has a water fountain on the ground that spews out dancing water in 35 different spectacular ways. Designed in the shape of a full moon, the lawn offers a beautiful night scene. It also serves as a venue for concerts and film screening as well as other cultural events and exhibitions.

Fabulous Seoul Plaza Gwanghwamun Plaza A symbolic plaza in Korea with statues of Admiral Yi Sunshin and King Sejong the Great. It is located in front of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts.

Haechi A mythical animal known to be capable of judging right from wrong and good from evil. Formerly the symbol of Korea s ancient Justice Ministry, Haechi is now Seoul s symbolic animal. A statue of Haechi is covered with grass.

Statue of King Sejong the Great As the fourth king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejong the Great helped invent the Korean alphabet and made many political, economic and cultural achievements. Many Koreans consider him the ideal ruler and to commemorate his accomplishments, this statue was unveiled in 2009.

Cheonggye Stream Luminarie Cheonggye Stream was once buried under an express-way. Cheonggye Stream Luminarie is a festival celebrated by illuminating buildings and decorating constructed frames with colorful lights.


Folk Tales at Grandma's Knee

One upon a time, there lived two old men each with a lump on his cheek. One was a good man and the other was greedy. The greedy old man was very mean.

This is mine!

Oh, my...

One day, the good old man sought shelter from the rain in an empty house. As day turned into night, the good old man felt lonely and scared. So, he began to sing. And all of a sudden, a goblin appeared before him. My beautiful voice comes from my song pouch.

I'm going to get rid of my lump, too!

Hey, you old man! where did you get that beautiful voice from?


The goblin became so envious that it exchanged the old man’s lump for precious gold and silver. After that, the good old man became rich. The greedy old man heard about this story.

That s mine, too!

Would you like my song pouch, too?

The greedy old man went to the empty house and sang as loud as he could so that the goblin could hear him. Finally, the goblin showed up. But he was very angry because he had learned that the lump was not really a song pouch.

You liar!

The goblin attached the good man’s lump to the greedy man’s cheek, and the greedy old man ended up with two lumps on his face, one on each of his cheeks.

Take your lump back!

Please, give me gold and silver! Oh, no! I have two lumps now.

The greedy old man dropped to his knees and cried his heart out.


Chapter 02

My name is Carlos. I didn’t know about Korea that well before becoming friends with Ara. I just knew it was a country in Asia, but now that I’m here, there’s so much to explore. I was especially impressed by the beautiful parks along the Han River where people came to enjoy themselves. Today, I’m going to experience Korea’s traditional culture.


The Suwon Hwaseong 35Fortress

It was still early in the morning, but the guesthouse was already bustling. During breakfast Carlos was telling his friends about an interesting dream he had the night before. He said that he somehow turned into a goblin when returning home. The story of the goblin and the old men with a lump probably left a strong impression on him. Ara and her friends left Suwon and headed to the Korean Folk Village. After about an hour’s ride, they could see the walls of a fortress. “What’s that castle we see?”


“Oh, that’s the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. It’s one of Korea’s most representative fortresses and is registered at UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage.” “Like China’s Great Wall?”

The Suwon Hwaseong Fortress

Ara remembered climbing up the Great Wall with her friends

Built in the 18th century by Jeongjo, the 22nd king of the Joseon Dynasty, it was designed to serve political, commercial as well as military functions. Equipped with scientific facilities and a pragmatic structure, it is a fine example of Asian fortresses.

at the international school in China. She remembered how tough it was for her to get to the top, especially on such a windy day. “Well, it’s a little different. The castle here’s kind of like a town where the king and the people used to live together in early


Bangwhasuryu Pavillion The pavilion with the best view in the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress. It is one of the best examples of Joseon architecture with exquisite engravings on the stone base. Bangwhasuryu means the pavilion that pursues flowers and willows.

times. Besides, it took less than three years to build this fortress. Geojunggi A type of crane devised to assemble and transport large stones. Employing a series of pullies to lift heavy objects, Jeong Yak-yong, a Joseon Dynasty scholar designed the equipment to be used in the constrution of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress.

Geez, it must have been really difficult to build such a castle back then, said Carlos. That’s right. Building a structure is no easy job. But a famous scholar named Jeong Yak-yong invented a piece of equipment called Geojunggi, a traditional Korean crane, to move heavyrocks. Now, that was 200 years ago. Two hundred years back would be even before my grandfather’s great grandfather’s time. When Carlos tried to figure out how far back it was in time, everyone burst into laughter.


Korean Folk Village The Korean Folk Village was bustling with people though the place had opened only an hour before. With a variety of traditional games like neolttugi, jegichagi, samulnori staged during the day, the folk village is a popular tourist site. There were clusters of thatched cottages and at the gate of the village stood a totem pole that s supposed to ward off evil spirits. The children walked into a thatched cottage like the ones early Koreans used to live in. That s called a thatched cottage. Early Koreans used clay to build walls and thatched straw to make roofs. There are many

Korean Folk Village entrance Opened in 1974 in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province to showcase Korea’s traditional folk life. There are representations of Korea’s ancient government buildings and houses of the nobility and commoners from different regions of Korea.


rice farms in Korea so they had plenty of rice straw. Wouldn t the roof leak when it rained? Actually, it doesn t. Did you know that thick layers of rice straw provide protection against the cold in the winter and heat in the summer? They replaced the old straw with new straw Totem Poles Posts made of wood or stone with paintings or carvings of faces stood at the entrance of a village to guard against evil spirits.

every two years. And the used straw was used as fertilizer afterwards. Recycling roofs! What a great idea! Carlos carefully looked around the cottage. He noticed lumps of fermented soybeans hanging beneath the eaves.

Straw-thatched cottage


But Captain, how did they keep themselves warm? There s no fireplace, said Carlos. Come on over here. The Captain took the kids to the kitchen and pointed at the

Soybean Malt Soybeans are boiled and stone-ground and then formed into blocks. The blocks are then exposed to sunlight or warmth for fermentation.

furnace. This is where they lit the fire using firewood. But, this is the kitchen where they cooked. That s right. They cooked with the fire here but the heat and smoke of the fire was used to warm the floors of the rooms.

Furnace Used for cooking by putting an iron cauldron over it and heating by channeling the heat and steam through flues beneath the rooms.

chimney furnace

floor of the room

flue of an ondol


Under the floor, Koreans built special flues to channel the heat from the low-lying kitchen stoves. This unique heating system is called ondol. That way, they could save energy while keeping themselves warm in the winter. Tile Construction material made of clay or cement to build roofs.

After taking a thorough look at the folk village, the children walked along the unpaved path. Soon, they spotted the grand mansions where upper class nobles lived. They learned that an entire cluster of houses with black tile roofs was for a single family. The houses had numerous rooms.

Tall Gate The gate at a nobleman’s house. It’s easy to spot as the tall post stands out, symbolizing the status of the owner.


Wooden door frames covered with Hanji.

Some of the wealthier families owned houses with as many as 99 rooms. Carlos thought the roofs looked kind of like armor. Has anyone found the secret of hanok? What secret? asked Marina. Traditional Korean houses are made by assembling wooden

Hanji Traditional paper made by first soaking mulberry bark in water, then drying it before boiling it to make it sturdier and more durable.

pegs instead of using nails. You can deconstruct a hanok by undoing the wooden pegs and reassemble them again later. Just like Lego blocks? Exactly, and Koreans used paper for windows, doors and the floor. Paper is good for ventilation and maintaining a moderate temperature. Look! Someone stuck their finger through it, said Marina. 43

Ha-ha! Some naughty children must have done it to look inside the room. Wouldn t the floor rip if paper is used? No worries. Soybean oil is painted over it to make it shiny and durable. Carlos touched the floor wondering how that s possible. As he lay on the main floor of the house, he felt as if he could smell the soybean oil. Wooden floored hall A big main hallway located at the center of a hanok. The wooden floor keeps people warm in winter and cool in summer. On hot summer nights, Korean families would sit in a circle and have a chat and some even fell asleep lying on the wooden floor.

After visiting the hanok, Ara and the kids began teeter-tottering on a seesaw. What was unique about this korean seesaw (neolttugi) was that instead of sitting on it, the riders had to stand at each end and take turns jumping.

Let’s Look at a Hanok Hanok refers to traditional Korean houses like straw-thatched cottages or houses with tiled-roofs, built according to traditional Korean architectural style. Hanoks can be either residences for the upper classes or small homes for commoners, depending on the style. annex

water closet

detached building

Hanok for the Upper Class People of high social and economic ranks, called yangban, lived in big mansions. These mansions had tall stone walls built around them so that people could not see inside. Tall gates were built to show off the family’s high social status. There were several buildings within the mansion and many were separated from one another by stone walls and gates. They had different residences for the master and the servants as well as for men and women.

inner house storeroom

servants quarters tall gate

water closet


Commoner s Hanok




Houses of the common people were built in different sizes and various layouts depending on the geography, climate and the economic status of the owner. Most of the commoner’s houses had a simple structure consisting of rooms, a floored living room and a kitchen. Strawthatched roofs were so widely used that they came to symbolize a commoner’s house.


Samulnori Ara and her friends heard a boisterous sound as they were having fun on the long Korean swings. It must be the samulnori! Let s go and take a look! shouted Ara. Everyone turned around to see where the sound came from. Donning white traditional costumes with colorful bands around their shoulders and waists, the samulnori players were creating a festive mood. Some of the elderly in the crowd joined Samulnori It is a folk percussion ensemble. It literally means playing with four instruments: buk (barrel drum), jing (large metal gong), janggu (hourglass-shaped drum) and kkwaeng-gwari (small metal gong).


the group and began dancing along. Is it okay to just jump in and dance with the performers? asked Carlos. Samulnori is all about mingling with other people. It s sup-

Samulnori performance It first began as a band for farm music in 1978 but is now widely known both at home and abroad.

posed to make people feel happy and reenergized. Come on, feel free to join them, said the Captain. No, thank you. It s kind of embarrassing, said Carlos. Even though the Captain encouraged Carlos, he felt too shy to join the crowd. When the twelve players began spinning their hats with long ribbons, Carlos started clapping. The ribbons attached to their hats were several meters long. Yet they could do such amazing things like rope-jumping with their hats on. All the onlookers got excited and began clapping to the rhythm too. Isn t it exciting? Samulnori has been invited to the World Performing Arts Festival and the players won global recognition for their performance. When the performance was over, rounds of applause echoed in every corner of the village. Afterwards, the children watched a 47

Traditional Wedding Many marriages in early Korea were arranged by parents through mediators. Based on the ranks of the family, education and personality, the parents picked their children’s spouses. In many cases, the bride and the groom did not even get to see each other before the wedding day.

traditional wedding ceremony and even tried on traditional costumes. Marina put on a striped women s jacket and headpiece. Carlos, meanwhile, struggled to put on a pair of traditional cotton socks. When the sun set, Ara and her friends headed to Insadong for dinner.


Korean Folk Games

Neolttwigi (Jumping Seesaw)

Tightrope Dancing

Masked Dancing

A game played on a thick long board balanced over a big bag of straw. At each end of the board, a person stands and takes turns jumping. Once a person jumps and lands on the board, the other person is thrust into the air.

Designated as Important Intangible Cultural Asset #58, professional tightrope dancers perform on 10-meter-long ropes stretched out three meters above the ground.

A means of entertainment in which performers cover their faces and head with a mask and impersonate different characters.



It is a kind of shuttlecock made by wrapping thin paper or cloth around a coin with a hole in the middle. Chagi means “kick.� So the game of jegichagi is a contest to see who can kick the jegi the most and keep it in the air the longest.

A geune is a swing made by hanging ropes on two tall pillars or trees and placing a wooden board at the end of the rope. One can either stand or sit down on the wooden board and sway back and forth. There are variations of geune, including those with two swings facing one another and those made for two or more people to get on.

Traditional military art on horseback Horsemen perform various stunts on fast running horseback within a designated area. They twirl spears, spin their bodies around in the air and even hop on another running horse while riding on horseback.


Insadong Giggling at the pictures they had taken over at the Korean Folk Village on the way back, the children didn’t realize that they had already arrived at Insadong in Seoul. “Let’s all hop out for another adventure!” The sight of a long side street with small shops full of interesting goods resembled the site of a market place back in early times. Ssamzie Gil in Insadong

Insadong Ever since various antique and craft shops opened up in the region in the 1980s, Insa-dong has become Seoul’s mecca for traditional art and culture. Sitting right in the center of downtown Seoul, it is easy to access by public transportation.


This place is called Insadong. It used to be the center of

Seoul during the Joseon Dynasty. There are traces of old government buildings and houses of famous people here. But what makes Insadong so famous is the lines of shops with handcrafts, explained the Captain.


It s become a popular cultural venue for Seoulites since there are many art fairs and galleries here. Besides, it s easy to get here, conveniently located downtown with three subway stations nearby, the Captain said. Well, foreigners seem to like Insadong too, added Ara.


The beautifully embroidered bookmarks caught Marina s attention. Carlos, meanwhile, burst into laughter at the sight of the Hahoe Mask. Carlos, you look just like the smiling mask, said Ara. Carlos took the mask and made a funny face trying to imitate the smile. Now, since we re here in Insadong, which is famous for its traditional cafes and restaurants, we should try out various Korean foods and snacks, said the Captain. Oh, we’re starving! shouted the kids.

Yangban (nobleman) Hahoe Mask Designated as National Treasure #121, the Hahoe mask is Korea’s ornamental cultural heritage. Every year, the villagers in Hahoe in Andong stage a masked performance on the first full moon, to worship the guardian of their village. There are 11 different kinds of Hahoe masks and each mask has its own unique performance.


Traditional Village What were ancient Korean schools like? What about the blacksmith s shop? Where did the classical scholars study? Take a peek at this traditional village for a look at the daily lives of ancient Koreans.

Dosan Seowon In Andong, N. Gyeongsang Province. A Seowon was a private institute built to nurture talented people.


Seongyojang A nobleman’s house with 99 rooms in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. It has been designated as Important National Folk Heritage #5.

Blacksmith s shop

Government office

Village school

Straw-thatched cottage


Andong Hahoe Folk Village Known for its preservation of traditional folk culture and architecture, it is home of the Ryu clan, which has produced many highranking officials. Initially, the village was said to have been established by the Huh clan and the famous Korean traditional mask Hahoe are also said to have been created by them.

Yangdong Folk Village The biggest traditional Hanok village of the Joseon Dynasty and home to many famous early scholars. The village has approximately 160 households, including those from the upper class as well as commoners. With beautiful tile-roofed houses, the entire village has been designated as an important folk asset.


Representative Hanok Villages Bukchon Hanok Village Namsan Hanok Village

Andong Village

Yangdong Folk Village

Naganeupseong Folk Village

Bukchon Hanok Village

Naganeupseong Folk Village

Namsan Hanok Village

This particular Hanok village was exclusively for the royal family, highranking officials and the gentry during the Joseon Dynasty. A traditional village festival is held every year showcasing the daily lives of Korea’s ancestors. A number of palaces, including Gyeongbok, Changdeok and Deoksu as well as the National Folk Museum of Korea are located in the region.

A traditional village preserved in its original state. About 280 thatched cottages still stand there with more than 90 households and 220 residents. Here, visitors can enjoy Korea’s traditional opera pansori, the ritual of the chief gatekeepers, farm music and tour traditional village schools.

A traditional Korean village preserved to showcase different types of houses spanning from those of the upperclass to those of commoners. The size of the house and the type of furniture were recreated to represent the residents’ social class.


Graceful Hanbok Hanbok refers to Korea s traditional clothing. Combining straight lines with curves, Hanbok is known for its visual harmony and beautiful colors. The women s Hanbok consists of a short jacket and full skirt, while men s Hanbok is comprised of a jacket and a pair of pants. Nowadays Koreans wear Hanbok mainly on holidays or special occasions.



Delicious Korean Food As a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides and fertile farmland inland, Koreans have always had easy access to fresh seafood and vegetables. The availability of such ingredients allowed for the creation of a wide variety of dishes. Most notably, Koreans developed various fermented condiments such as soybean paste and pepper paste. Different Types of Kimchi Kimchi is an excellent fermented food that is served with all sorts of Korean dishes. With its origin dating several hundred years back, there are more than 200 different types of kimchi. The most common and popular type of kimchi is made with cabbage and Korean radish but other vegetables such as cucumber, spinach, spring onion and leaf-mustard could also be used.


Bulgogi Beef barbecue cooked with vegetables and soybean sauce. Bulgogi is popular all over the world now.

Samgyetang Traditional Korean broth usually served in the summer to stimulate the appetite and re-energize. A whole chicken is boiled in water with chestnuts, jujube, ginseng and glutinous rice stuffed inside it.

Nutritious Bibimbap Typically made by mixing rice with various vegetables, some meat and an egg. Pepper paste can be added for those who prefer a spicier taste.


Folk Tales at Grandma's Knee

Once upon a time, a mother of three children was on her way home from the market with a basket full of rice cakes. But up in the mountains, she came across a tiger.

I will save you if you give me a piece of rice cake!

Woo! Please spare me!

Asking the tiger to save her life, the mother gave him a piece of rice cake every time the tiger stopped her. But when she ran out of rice cakes, the tiger ate the mother instead.

Disguised as their mother, the tiger ate the youngest child up upon arriving at the house. That’s when the other two

children, a boy and a girl ran out to the backyard and climbed up a tree.


Now, let me gulp down the remaining two kids!

Let’s hop up the tree!

Her children must be just as yummy.

Oh, God! Help us.

The tiger tried to climb the tree. The brother and sister prayed to God, asking for a life line to be sent. Then, a thick rope suddenly came down from the sky saving the brother and the sister.

Oh, no! It’s a rotten rope!

The tiger also prayed for a rope. But this time, a rotten rope came down and when the tiger tried to cling to it, the rope snapped. Down fell the tiger and died.

And the brother and sister became the sun and the moon in the sky.

Oh, no~

Bang! Help me, please!


Chapter 03


It’s already our third day here in Korea.We had a great time at the Korean Folk Village yesterday. It’s amazing how early Koreans used paper and rice straw to build houses. I was really surprised to learn how koreans developed the ondol system to keep themselves warm in the winter. I think people around the world could take advantage of the ondol system because it can help protect our environment. Today, our Captain is taking us to the city of traditional culture, Gyeongju.


The National Museum of Gyeongju

The children woke up to the smell of food that filled the entire house. Grandma was preparing picnic food called kimbap for the kids. Grandma spread rice evenly on a piece of dried black seaweed that looked like paper and then put various vegetables on top of it, all different colors. Then she rolled up the seaweed paper with the rice and vegetables in it. “Is it going to be a long ride?” asked Carlos with water dripping from his hair as he came out from taking a shower. “Yes. There’s lots to see in Gyeongju so take a good look at the ancient city, children,” said Grandma.


Monument at the Gyeongju World Culture Expo The city of Gyeongju hosted the world’s first culture expo showcasing diverse cultures of various countries. An 85-meter monument has been built in its commemoration.

Gyeongbu Expressway

Just when Carlos was about to get a bite of kimbap, the Captain rushed back into the house, returning from a gas station. “Kids, the car is filled to the brim with gas and everything’s set. Get ready now and meet in front of the gate by 8 o’clock.

Expressway connecting Seoul and Busan (A metropolis in Korea’s southeastern province of S. Gyeongsang Province. Busan is Korea’s second largest city after Seoul and has the nation’s greatest trading port.)

Got it?” shouted the Captain. Then, as if starving, he threw three pieces of kimbap into his mouth and munched on them. They were lucky: there was little traffic on the Gyeongbu Expressway. After about four hours, the car arrived at a tileroofed toll gate in Gyeongju. “Tell us about Gyeongju, Captain,” said Marina. 65

Gyeongju It sits on the southeastern end of N. Gyeongsang Province. With a population of 270,000, it is a city that has both urban and rural aspects. Nicknamed a “museum without walls”, Gyeongju is home to many historic and tourist sites.

“It’s a city that’s kept the history of Silla intact. Silla is the name of a kingdom that once ruled Korea. Gyeongju was the capital of Silla for one thousand years from (BC 57-AD 935). There are only few cities throughout the world that had been the capital for such a long time: Athens in Greece and Rome in Italy are two examples. Many relics have been unearthed in Gyeongju and it has been designated as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO,” explained the Captain. “So in other words, it’s a treasure city,” said Marina. “Ha-ha, that’s a good way to describe it. It’s like an enormous living museum!” 66

Cheomseongdae Unlike Seoul, Gyeongju seemed quiet and peaceful. Ara and her friends walked into a dark forest. Soon, a small pagoda appeared and the Captain stopped. Cheomseongdae was built 1350 years ago to observe the movement of the universe to help farmers prepare and plan their farming. Marina was actually a little disappointed at the sight of Cheomseongdae. It sort of looked like stones piled up in the shape of a Coca Cola bottle. But when she found out that the number of stones and the stories used in the pagoda symbolized the number of days and months of a year, Marina was startled at the mathematical knowledge of the people of Silla. Carlos thought to Cheomseongdae

himself that an astrologer might have lived inside Cheomseongdae. After passing age-old willows, zelkova and maple trees, a crystal clear lake came into sight. “ This is where the ancient palace of Silla Kings used to be. A grand and splendid palace was built to greet foreign ambassadors and hold banquets for national VIPs. There was a waterway between buildings and small boats floated along at night. From the boat, the guests could look at the animals on the artifi-

Anapji A pond in Gyeongju, N. Gyeongsang Province. Created inside the king’s palace, it served as a natural habitat for various animals and plants. National celebrations and banquets for VIPs were held in front of the lake.


Sumyeonwa from Anapji Sumyeonwa is a type of tile that’s placed at the edge of eaves. Created in the shape of a beast’s face, they are believed to ward off all evil spirits and misfortune.

Bronze lion statue Door handles

cial island which was created inside the palace.” “If the palace was built within a lake, it must have been really fabulous,” said Marina. “Fortunately, the National Museum of Gyeongju showcases some relics of the ancient princes,” said the Captain. Marina was curious to see what kind of things the old princes had used in Korea.


The National Museum of Gyeongju The National Museum of Gyeongju was divided into several exhibition halls. There was an antique gallery showcasing relics of the people of Silla, Anapji gallery with relics from Anapji and an art gallery with exquisite art works of the Silla dynasty. Statue of Buddha Exhibited at the Gyeongju National Museum. Buddha is one of the world’s four major sages. Born as a prince in Nepal, Buddha left home at the age of 29 and gained spiritual awakening at the age of 35. The granite statue is sculpted in Unified Silla’s typical realistic style.


Ara and her friends first headed to the antique gallery. Marina couldn’t take her eyes off the gold crown and ornaments. “They used to call Silla the land of gold. In fact, a total of six gold crowns have been excavated in and near Gyeongju,” explained the Captain.

The Gyeongju National Museum at a Glance At the National Museum of Gyeongju there are many different kinds of relics showcasing the Three Kingdom Period. It’s better to plan your tour in advance. I recommend that you look at the antique gallery first, then the art and Anapji gallery before going to the outdoor exhibit to save time.

Hours: 9 AM - 6 PM from Tuesday - Sunday (Closed every Monday and on January 1st)

3. Anapji Gallery

1. Antique Gallery

Splendid relics from the destroyed palace at Anapji Pond are exhibited here.

Ancient relics like gold crowns, armor and chinaware are exhibited.

6. The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great The bell makes a clear and grand sound.

4. Outdoor Exhibit Pagodas and other various works of stone fill this outdoor exhibit area.

7. Three-story 2. Art Gallery Goseonsa Art works creatStone Pagoda ed for the land of Buddha are on display here.

5. Children s Museum Children can listen to legendary tales, have a go at the togi (earthenware) puzzle or create their own black tile design with clay!


Gold waistband and ornaments

“Oh, beatiful!” shouted Marina. “The top of the crown looks kind of like a pointed leaf,” said Carlos. “Wow, Carlos, you’re really sharp. You’re right, indeed. It was designed after the shape of a leaf. It symbolized a tree that lived for a thousand years connecting the sky and the land. It was created to wish for the king’s prosperity and good governance.” Ara and her friends headed to the art gallery. At the art gallery stood a monument with the Gold Crown A typical gold crown of Silla that was unearthed in 1973 from a tomb in Hwangnamdong, Gyeongju. This gold crown is considered to be the most artistic in terms of design.

history of Silla written on it.

I swear to Heaven. I pray that I will be loyal to the country and make no mistakes for the next three years. If I don’t keep my word, I will gladly be punished for my sins.

The Captain read the writings on the monument. “This was written by Hwarang. Back then in Silla, there was a community of selected young men who lived together and learned martial arts. Known as the Hwarangdo, this group of young men was trained to fight for their people and country.” “So the purpose of creating the Hwarangdo was to recruit talented men for national prosperity, right? By the way, did those

Imsinseogiseok (Monument established in the year of the monkey) 34cm long, 2cm thick and 12.5cm wide. The oath of two Silla Hwarangs was carved on it in 5 lines and 74 words.

Hwarangdo An elite group of young men in Silla. Members of this group were called Hwarang. They received education in academic and martial arts. They were trained to fight with loyalty for justice, the king the nation, and their friends.


Hwarangs also learn taekwondo?” “Ha-ha. No, taekwondo is a sport that came about much later. But I think the spirit of the Hwarang has been passed on to taekwondo in that its goal is to protect the weak in a just way,” said the Captain. “I learned taekwondo, you know?” said Carlos, getting into the primary stance. Then, Ara jumped out with a big shout and posed as if she was getting ready for a match.

Taekwondo Its origin dates back 2,000 years. Taekwondo is the Korea traditional martial art that has become a global sport today. It was selected as an official Olympic sport during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Taekwondo is known for its philosophy of combat only for self-defense and its use of bare feet and hands. Taekwondo can be translated into “the way of foot and fist” or “the way of kicking and punching.”


The Divine Bell of King Seongdeok the Great After looking at statues of Buddha and other various relics from Anapji Pond, Ara and her friends left the museum and headed to the place where the Divine Bell of Seongdeok the Great stood. Marina and Carlos were curious to find out about the bell’s secret that Ara had talked about earlier. “Ara, tell us about the secret behind this bell.” “ There’s a really sad story behind this bell, nicknamed the



Emille Bell. It’s said that the bell they had made did not toll at first. That is, it didn’t make any sound. Then one day, a Buddhist monk had a dream telling him that for the bell to toll, a baby had to be melted in there. And so a poor mother who had nothing to pay her dues had no choice but to give her baby away. That’s why the bell makes this mournful sound emille, emille which means mom.” Marina and Carlos seemed saddened to hear the story. “Well, they say people came up with this story because they were greatly moved by the bell’s beautiful yet melancholy

Details of the interior

sound,” added Ara.

It has a graceful and balanced shape with delicate and beautiful decorations. At the top of the bell, there is a hook called “yongryu” which is left empty so that it filters noise.

“I want to hear the bell toll,” said Marina. “ You will, in a bit. The museum tolls the bell every hour,” said Ara. Soon thereafter, a staff member from the museum came out and walked to the bell. When he chimed the bell with a round piece of wood, the ponderous bell started to move slowly. Then, a solemn yet beautiful sound from the bell began to resonate throughout the museum grounds. Marina felt her heart pound at the sound. The legend related to the bell made it sound all the more sorrowful.


Relics at the Gyeongju National Museum

Kettle in the shape of a warrior on horseback Shows a vivid image of a warrior of that time period.

Ornaments made of gold and jade

Urn with clay figures Sculptures in shapes of turtles, frogs, fourlegged beasts and women playing a string instrument.


Tiles with a human face They’re also called “smile of a Sillan ” Tiles used at the edge of eaves had various shapes from human faces to goblins.

Image of a thinking Buddha in gilt bronze Sitting cross-legged with a solemn face, the statue represents the image of Buddha meditating as a prince before entering priesthood.

Urn in the shape of a house An urn that was used to hold the bones of the dead. Was it made in the shape of a house so that the dead could rest in peace?

Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto The following day, Ara and her friends went to Bulguksa Temple on Toham Mountain after breakfast. Bulguksa Temple and Seokguram Grotto are famous cultural assets in Gyeongju that have been designated as a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. People in Silla are said to have worshipped Buddha regardless of their social ranks at the time. Built 1250 years ago, Bulguksa means “Land of Buddha Temple.� Carlos was startled at the sculptures (the four heavenly guardians of Buddhism) standing at the entrance to the temple. Bulguksa Temple


Four Devas The four heavenly guardian gods protecting the nation at the four points of the compass, Jiguk Heavenly King to the east, Jeungjang Heavenly King to the south, Gwangmok Heavenly King to the west and Damun Heavenly King to the north.

These sculptures are said to be the guards defending Bulguksa from all sides. At Bulguksa, you can almost feel the dedication that went into building each and every structure of the stone steps and pagodas. It is like you are on an excursion to the world of Buddha. What is really impressive is the temple is sitting on top of a stone wall as if placed above a cloud. They say that it was designed this way so that people looked up to the temple with sincerity.


Let’s learn about Bulguksa Temple Bulguksa Temple was created as an imaginary world in which Buddha lived. In the front court, the Seokgatap and Dabotap monuments symbolize the body of Buddha. They are Korea s representative pagodas showcasing Korea s excellent architectural skill and beauty.

Bridges Cheongun & Baekun

Beomyeong Pavilion

National Treasure #23. Beneath is the Cheongun Bridge symbolizing a green youth and above is the Baekun Bridge symbolizing a white-haired old man.

A wide pavilion to the left, after passing the Cheongun and Baekun bridges. Capable of accommodating 108 people, the number 108 symbolizes the number of worldly desires or agonies.

Ilju Gate

Geungnakjeon (Hall of Paradise)

Entrance to Bulguksa Temple. There is no door panel, which means all are welcome in the world of Buddha.

The figure of the seated Amida Buddha in gilt bronze, one of the three major Buddha statues of the Unified Silla Period, is stored here.


Figure of seated Amida Buddha in gilt bronze National Treasure #27. The oldest Buddha statue in Korea.

Dabotap As if made from clay, the stone is exquisitely crafted with each and every piece assembled carefully. With its unique shape with various designs, the pagoda is a good example of how different aspects create a balanced harmony with consistent length, width and thickness.

Seokgatap Pagoda made with layers of squarely cut and filed stone. A simple yet sturdy stone pagoda.


As we walked further up Toham Mountain, we came to Seokguram Grotto, a temple made of stone. Surrounding the grotto were 14 sculptures. Even Ara looked at the exquisite statues with awe. But the most remarkable sculpture of them all was the Bonjon Buddha, the main Buddha. It was a majestic and dignified figure, yet it had the face of a View of the Seokguram Grotto As Korea’s representative temple in a stone cave, it has been designated National Treasure #24. This work of art in stone was also designated a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1995.


generous and benevolent grandpa. Marina felt as if the Buddha statue would move its lips and talk to her. Ara, who had read about these statues and relics only in books, was also surprised to see them first hand.

Bonjon Buddha (Principal Image of Buddha) A round-faced image of Buddha with arched eye brows, long squinting eyes, well-defined lips, plump cheeks. Unlike many other formalized statues, it shows an ideal and gentle image of Buddha.


Korea’s History at a Glance Gojoseon Gojoseon is the first nation ever to be founded on the Korean Peninsula. A tribe in the northern region called cheongdong (bronze) which used metal, came down south and conquered many tribes and founded the first nation. Gojoseon made weapons and ornaments with bronze.

Korean-style bronze sword

Plain earthenware

Dolmen A stone grave representative of the bronze age. Dolmen were used for men of power and wealth in ancient times.


* The Foundation Myth of Gojoseon Long ago, Hwanung, the son of the King of heaven, descended from the skies to Taebaek Mountain. One day, a bear and a tiger went to Hwanung and begged that they be turned into human beings. Hwanung promised that he would do so if the bear and the tiger lived only on mugwort and garlic for one hundred days in a dark cave. So the bear and the tiger tried to do what Hwanung had told them. But the tiger got impatient and ran out of the cave. Even though the bear also wanted to leave the cave with the tiger, it didn t because the bear really wanted to become a person. Finally, after 100 days, the bear turned into a beautiful woman. Called Wungnyeo, she got married to Hwanung and had a baby. The baby was Dangun, the founder of Gojoseon.


Three Kingdoms Era After the fall of Gojoseon, different tribes created small tribal states. Among them, three emerged as powerhouses that conquered neighbors and saw progress in civilization. Laws and systems were instituted to govern the people. These three became the kingdoms of Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla.

Mural paintings of tiger hunting in Goguryeo Muyongchong mural painting in today’s Jillin, China. It depicts a warrior on horseback, drawing a bow on a tiger.

Baekje ornamental edgings from a coffin National Treasure #152.

Silla Cheonmachong The tomb of Silla King Jinung. It was excavated in 1973.


Unified Silla With the help of the Tang Dynasty in China, Silla overthrew Goguryeo and Baekje and unified the three kingdoms. Unified Silla built a new palace in Gyeongju and devised a new system to better govern its people and expand its economy and culture.

Toyongdo Carved figures of clay put inside tombs. They indicate the kind of clothing and daily lives people had in that period.

Earthenware with seal patterns

Three-Story Goseonsa Stone Pagoda National Treasure #38 housed at the Gyeongju National Museum.

Balhae After its collapse, Goguryeo s territory came under the rule of Silla as well as China s Tang Dynasty. Many people from the former Goguryeo were forced to live difficult lives under Chinese rule. Among them was a man named Daejoyoung who became the leader of the former Goguryeo people and established a new nation, Balhae, in Manchuria and the northeastern part of the Korean Peninsula.

Tiles with lotus flower pattern Most of the tiles used at the edge of eaves on roofs in Balhae had lotus flower patterns. Balhae adopted this tradition from Goguryeo.

Dragon head ornament A pair of lion statues made of stone. They were symbolic guards of Balhae’s capital. The black one looks more like a bulldog ready to bite someone.


Goryeo The royal family and nobility in Unified Silla continued to struggle for power, and many discontented forces in the country revolted. The country was divided into small kingdoms again, Wang Geon, a descendant of Goguryeo, founded Goryeo and then reunified the nation.

Tripitaka Koreana Buddhist scriptures carved into more than 80,000 wooden printing blocks. It is the world’s most comprehensive and oldest intact version of the Buddhist canon.

Goddess of Mercy 14th century

Celadon porcelain with bamboo and crane Goryeo, 12th century, National Treasure #92.

Jar decorated with lakeside scenery


Joseon Dynasty The Joseon Dynasty came about after the collapse of Goryeo. King Sejong the Great, the 4th king of the Joseon Dynasty created the Korean alphabet Hangeul and further developed farming, science and technology. He also paid special attention to improving studies in medicine, law and music. Practical studies and Western culture were introduced during this period.

(Hunminjeongeum) Theoretical Explanation of Han-geul, the Korean Alphabet National Treasure #70.

Farming Painted by Kim Hongdo, a famed Joseon artist, the picture depicts peasant farmers taking a break.

Geobukseon (Ironclad war ship in the shape of a turtle) The world’s first ironclad warship created by Admiral Yi Sunshin ahead of the Japanese invasion in 1592.


White porcelain decorated with maewha blossoms Birds, bamboo patterns. National treasure #170.

Courageous tiger

Daedong Yeojido The biggest and most comprehensive map of Korea in its day. National Treasure #850.

Sundial A device measuring the passage of time by detecting the movement of an object’s shadow.


Japanese Colonial Period Japan forced Joseon s last king. Gojong, to step down and gradually began assuming authority. In 1910, Japan completely took over sovereignty of Joseon and colonized it. Many Koreans struggled to regain independence and Jubilant Koreans on Liberation Day established a provisional government in Shanghai, China. While many Koreans struggled to regain sovereignty from Japan, World War Two broke out. Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945 and retreated from Korea after 35 years of rule. Koreans were liberated and regained their independence. Monument Commemorating Korea s Independence


Prosperous Modern Korea After gaining independence, there were two different political forces on the Korean Peninsula. Influenced by the United States, people in the south wanted to establish a democratic government. People in the north, however, wanted a communist government based on socialism, like in the former Soviet Union. And in 1950, the North attacked the South and thus began the Korean War. Prosperous Seoul At the end of the Korean War, the entire nation was in ruins and people suffered from poverty and hunger. But Koreans, with over 5000 years of history, knew that they could rebuild the nation if they worked tenaciously. Koreans built ports, expressways, factories and apartments on the devastated land. Celebrating North-South reconciliation


Folk Tales at Grandma's Knee

Once upon a time, there lived a woodcutter. One day, a deer came up to the woodcutter and told him that a group of fairies were taking a bath at a nearby pond. The woodcutter stole the robe of feathers of one of the fairies.

When the youngest fairy realized that she couldn t fly back home, she cried out aloud. That s when the woodcutter went up to her and proposed that she live with him.

If you want to get married, steal one of the fairies robe of feathers, and hold on to it until you have a third child.

After some time had passed, the woodcutter confessed to the fairy that he had stolen her robe of feathers. The fairy was so upset that she put on her robe of feathers and flew back to heaven.

I miss my home!

Where is my robe of feathers?


My darling, please don t go!

You stupid woodcutter, why didn t you do as I told you.

The woodcutter kept on crying. Then a bucket came down from the sky to draw water from the pond.

When the bucket came down, the woodcutter quickly jumped into it.

When the fairy and the children saw the woodcutter, they welcomed him and hugged him out of happiness, and they lived together happily ever after.

I missed you!

I'm sorry. Let's stay together forever.


Chapter 04


Today is the fifth day that I’ve been taking Ara and her friends around Korea. It’s strange how we got so used to each other over the past week. I’m really happy to see Marina and Carlos enjoy Korea’s cultural heritage.Today, I’m going to take the kids to Daehangno and Changgyeong Palace.



Respect to the Eldely Ara and her friends hopped on Subway Line #2 to go to the COEX. It was easy to read the subway map since the lines were marked with different colors. Also, the transit system was relatively simple with directions marked at every corner. But there was something that seemed very strange. People in the subway Subway line map

cars were standing when there were empty seats right in front of

Korea’s subway system has nine lines and is safe, clean and easy to use.

them. Captain, why don’t those people sit down? said Marina. Oh, those seats are reserved for the disabled and the elderly. That’s why most people don’t sit there. But even those who do sit down give them over to the elderly when they get on the sub-

Subway Subway Line #1 in Seoul first opened in 1974. Line #9 which opened in 2009, runs from Gimpo Airport to Gangnam (the southern part of Seoul).


Asem Tower The 41-story tower with four levels underground is equipped with cuttingedge facilities and houses many multinational corporations and IT startups.

way. Senior citizens over the age of 65 can even ride the subway free of charge. In Korea, we have a long tradition of showing respect to the elderly, said the Captain. Koreans are really so considerate and kind. Carlos, all of a sudden, thought of his grandmother. A few months ago, she had sprained her ankle when the bus she was standing in made an abrupt stop. A forty-minute ride on the subway took the kids to Samseong Station near COEX mall. COEX was full of people right from the entrance. Conveniently located in Seoul’s IT and venture capital district, the Captain explained that COEX has emerged as a hub of global business, equipped with the latest IT and communication infrastructure. It’s also known to be Asia’s hot tourist spot for shopping and exhibitions. It first opened in March

Aquarium COEX also houses the biggest aquarium in Korea with over 40,000 sea creatures of 500 species on display. It first opened in May 2000.

1979 as a venue for international trade and cultural exchange. The exhibition complex is built on a total of 13,000 square meters of land consisting of four stories above and below ground. It has a total of 12 exhibition halls and 61 conference rooms with the convention hall accommodating approximately The entrance to COEX

7,000 people at once. Besides the shopping area, COEX mall has a set of cultural facilities, including an aquarium, multiplex movie theater and a super-sized bookstore. On the first floor of COEX was an exhibition hall called the Atlantic Hall and a fair on ‘study overseas’ was underway.


Hosted by foreign universities, embassies and their culture centers in Korea, the purpose of the fair was to provide information to Korean students and parents interested in overseas schools. All the booths were full of people seeking consultation. It’s amazing how Koreans are so enthusiastic about education, said Marina. Koreans are known for their passion for education. Korea has six years of mandatory elementary and three years of secondary education. And then you spend another three years at high school before going on to a college or university for a degree that takes between two to six years. Korean parents are really

Korean parents devote themselves to their children s education They attend various seminars and lectures to attain and exchange educational information.


committed to providing the best education they can for their children, explained the Captain. Look at her! She’s speaking in English, said Marina, referring to an elementary school student speaking to a foreigner. You know, there’s this so-called ‘English fever’ in Korea. Many parents in Korea today teach English to their children as soon as they learn Korean. And when they go to elementary school, many of them spend summer and winter vacations at overseas English camps in the United States, Canada and the Philippines, explained the Captain. And that’s not all. We also take a number of extracurricular classes in art, music, math and science after school, added Ara. Boy, that must be really tough. But I have to say, Korean 104

children usually do really good at math and science. They seem to learn things very quickly, said Carlos. That’s all because of the good education they get. Korean parents know that education is the key to prosperity and that’s why they’re so devoted to providing the best education they can for their children, said the Captain. Still, it’s tough on us, you know. So much to do even after school, complained Ara. Marina and Carlos giggled as Ara complained to her uncle.

Children studying hard Koreans are among the first when it comes to their passion for education. As a small country with few natural resources, Korea focused on the development of human resources to enhance its national competitiveness. Korean students are especially known for their excellent performance in math and science.


IT Powerhouse At the other exhibit hall, an IT fair was underway. People at the booths were busy trying out new gadgets. The images on LED TV screens were so vivid and real that the animals shown on the screen were almost jumping out of the monitor. The kids tried on the mobile phones worn on their wrists like watches. Coming in various colors and designs, this new mobile phone is said to be the world s first 3G video phone. These latest mobile phones seemed like gadgets of the future that appear only in movies. They said that people could not only

Game Shows Korea is ranked number one in the online gaming industry. Korea exports much of its content and programs to China, Japan and South-east Asia, as well as the U.S. and Europe.


Mobile phone worn on wrists like watches(left)

Tele-medicine systems(right) Doctors discussing telemedicine system at the Seoul Asan Medical Center.

watch movies and listen to music with the system, but even operate vehicles. Tele-medicine systems that enable people to get medical treatment at home without paying a visit to the doctor were also very popular. There was such a wide range of products to view from home appliances and communications to office products.. And the kids had a difficult time choosing what to see first. Marina marveled at Korea s IT industry once again.


Korea, an Economic Powerhouse Korea is the world s 12th largest economy. Korea was ranked the world s 10th largest exporting country during the first half of 2009. Korea s representative export items are semiconductors, memory chips, mobile phones, LCDs, MP3 players, and automobiles. Korea s steel and shipbuilding industries are among the world s best.

Shipbuilding technology Korea boasts the world’s number one shipbuilding industry. Generally, it takes about three years to build a large ship. Korea has the world’s best technology in shipbuilding.


Mobile phone technology It’s easy to spot Korean mobile phones the world over. Samsung and LG Electronics are competing for 2nd and 3rd places in global mobile phone market share.

Semiconductor industry

KTX (Korea Train Express)

Korea’s semiconductor technology is ranked #1 in the world. New technologies and products continue to dominate the market.

The KORAIL (Korea Railway Corporation) opened the Seoul Busan KTX line in 2004 to reduce traffic on the nation’s expressway. Travelling at over 250 kilometers per hour, travel time between Seoul and Busan was reduced to 2 hours and 40 minutes from 4 hours and 10 minutes.


Automobile Exports

Online games

LCD TVs by Samsung Electronics have been ranked #1 in the world for three consecutive years with a global market share of 20%. LG Electronics has a market share of 10%. Together, Korea’s global market share of LCD TVs stands at 30%.

30 years since its first production of cars, Korea’s automobile industry has grown to become the 6th largest in the world.

Korea’s online and mobile game industry grew on the back of the country’s widespread use of mobile phones and worldclass broadband infrastructure.


Daehangno Shall we head to Daehangno now? said Ara. For the first time in Korea, Marina and Carlos got on a bus. On the streets, buses traveled much faster than other vehicles. That s because the first lane of the road was reserved for buses. After about 40 minutes on the bus, they arrived at Daehangno. Welcome to Daehangno, filled with the passion of college students! said the Captain. Captain, Daehangno means the street of colleges. But why did it ended up with such a name when there aren t any universities on this street? asked Ara.

Various street performances held at Daehangno


Marronnier Park It has a playground, small pond, outdoor stage, fountain and kiosk. The outdoor stage is a popular venue for performing artists. Many small theaters are located in and around the park.

Well, Korea s top university, Seoul National University, used to be here before, the Captain answered. Seoul National University? repeated Ara.

Seoul National University

That s right. You see Marronnier Park over there? That s

A national university located in Shillimdong, Seoul. As Korea’s top university, it is especially famous for research in science and engineering. In 2008, it was ranked 50th in a global evaluation of universities.

where Korea s first national university, Seoul National University used to be. Since many college students gathered here, they named the area the street of college students


Seoul National University relocated to the Gwanak Mountain region, they created this Marronnier Park, attracting many art and performance-related organizations to the area, explained the Captain. 111

Look over there! yelled Carlos when he saw a group of Bboys performing at Marronnier Park. Several young boys were showing off their skills, dancing to the music. They are professional break dancers. Korean B-boys are B-boys B stands for break dancing and B-boys refer to professional break dancers. Bboying has become a new code of culture worldwide and is gaining popularity as a type of sport. Korean Bboys are acclaimed as the best in the world today, winning four major battle awards including the “Battle of the Year” in Germany and “UK B-boy Champion-ship” in England.

becoming more famous throughout the world and have already won major international B-boy battle awards, said the Captain. When the performance was over, people gave the group a big round of applause. Carlos stepped up and even took a picture with one of the B-boys. The Captain took the children to Saemteo Parangse Theater, which has performances for children.

Changgyeong Palace Beyond the busy streets, there was a path along the stone wall. Carlos ran along the path saying that it looked like a nobleman s house with 99 rooms at the Korean Folk Village. The Captain began talking about Changgyeong Palace to Marina and Ara. King Sejong the Great, who created the Korean alphabet Hangeul, ordered the construction of Changgyeong Palace for his father. Though smaller than Korea s representative palaces like Gyeongbok and Changdeok, it has its own charm. It s a shame it had to be rebuilt after the war with Japan during the Joseon

Changgyeong Palace Palace in Seoul built during King Seongjeong’s rule in the Joseon Era. Changdeok Palace stands to its west, and Jongmyo to its south.


Okcheon Bridge Okcheon means “water flowing like glass beads.” Since the palace is made of wood, they always made a waterway called “Geumcheon” around the palace in case of fire.

Dynasty, said the Captain. Impressed by the story of the Suwon Hwaseong Fortress a few days ago, Marina wondered how the palace would look inside. Honghwa Gate looked quite different from the tall gate at the nobleman s grand mansion. This bridge leads to the Palace where the king used to live, said the Captain. There was a small bridge called Okcheon Bridge past

Statues of goblins at the Okcheon Bridge

Honghwa Gate. It s a monster! Carlos stepped back, frightened. The sculptures of goblins looked as if they were staring at him. 115

The sculptures are there to ward off bad spirits from entering the palace, said the Captain. Oh, that s what they are. They look kind of cute, now that I take another look at them, mumbled Carlos. Embarrassed, huh? teased his friends. When they crossed Okcheon Bridge, there was a wide garden covered with white stones. At the end of the garden was Myeongjeong Hall, known to have been the place for politics. Myeongjeong means good politics, proper politics and wise politics, said the Captain. Myeongjeong Hall Designated as National Treasure #266, Myeongjeong Hall is the oldest part of all the five major palaces of the Joseon Dynasty. It is a single-story wooden structure built on stone, covered with a halfhipped roof.

It took quite a long time to tour every structure beyond Myeongjeong Hall. The four of them decided to rest by the pond that reflected the clear sky.

Chundangji at Changgyeong Palace

The sun hung over the edges of Chundangji Pond. Korean palaces are not huge like China s Forbidden City. Yet, they look simple and cozy to me, said Marina. Next time I come here, I m going to go on an all-day palace tour. I want to visit other palaces as well, she added. Marina felt attracted to Korean palaces.


Royal Palaces The palace was the residence for the king and the royal family. A symbol of national authority, the palace was the center of politics. Many palaces were constructed in Seoul when it was chosen as the capital of Joseon. The main palace, Gyeongbok Palace, was the biggest in size and the king lived there and took care of national affairs.

Gyeongbok Palace

Changdeok Palace

Located on Sejongno in Seoul, Gyeongbok Palace was built in 1395 as the main palace during the Joseon Dynasty. Gyeongbok means good wishes for a peaceful era.

Changdeok Palace is of great value in that it is the palace with a large korean garden. It was designated as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.

Gyeonghui Palace

Deoksu Palace

A royal palace in Seoul. Kings conducted government affairs at Gyeonghui Palace for eight generations after its construction in 1616 during the Joseon Dynasty. It is also one of the three major royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty.

A royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty situated in Cheong-dong, Seoul. Deoksu Palace is open to the general public and is popular among urban residents seeking peace of mind in a traditional setting.


Traditional religious ceremony Every May, a traditional religious ceremony is held in memory of the kings and the queens. Sacrificial rituals are also enacted then. This traditional religious ceremony was designated as Korea’s important Intangible Cultural Asset #1 by the government in 1964. UNESCO also designated it as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Music performance at ceremonial rites


The Korean Wave Korea s pop culture began gaining popularity in China and Taiwan as well as many Southeast Asian countries in the late 1990s. Korean dramas have become increasingly popular among Chinese people, and Korean dance groups and singers created a sensation in Taiwan.



Korean drama series based on Korea’s royal cuisine. It was so popular that the drama series has been exported to over 60 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as Southeast Asia.

Korea’s own non-verbal performance has been staged more than 14,000 times for over 4.8 million audiences worldwide since its debut in 1997.

Winter Sonata


Korean drama series based on the love story of a young couple. Winter Sonata became a sensation after it first aired in 2003. The main actors and actresses of Winter Sonata became superstars in Japan.

A comic martial arts performance depicting an eccentric family. At the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, ‘Jump’ ranked number one at the box office among approximately 1,800 troupes taking part.


Pusan International Film Festival (PIFF) The non-competition international film festival began in 1996 and is held every fall in Korea’s port city of Busan. The most prestigious international film festival in Asia, PIFF is known for screening new films of various genres and regions while serving as a venue where filmmakers can experience different perspectives on new trends in world cinema.

Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival was launched in 1997 to promote low-budget independent films. The host city Bucheon is known for its emphasis on visual art and music, and the film festival attracts experimental film manias in Korea. In addition to screening selective movies during the festival, visitors can also participate in various seminars and lectures.


Folk Tales at Grandma's Knee

Once upon a time, there lived an old grandma. She was working on her red bean farm when a tiger suddenly jumped before her. The tiger suggested that they play a game and said that it would eat her up if she lost.

I m going to eat you up if I finish weeding your red bean farm first!

Please spare me!

The tiger finished weeding the farm in a blink of an eye and was about to gulp Grandma down. Then the Grandma suddenly offered to make red bean porridge for the tiger once she harvested the red beans in the fall.

Grandma was worried that it will soon be fall and the tiger would come again. One day, she heard a shelled chestnut drop while making the red bean porridge.

If you give me a bowl of that red bean porridge, I will save you from the tiger.

I guess the tiger would come and eat me in the fall.


Oh, help yourself.

Soon thereafter, a turtle, a piece of dog poop and a gimlet came along asking for a bowl of red bean porridge as well. Then a mortar, straw mat and a carrying rack followed suit. Grandma gave everyone a bowl of red bean porridge.

When night fell, the tiger came to eat up the Grandma. As the tiger headed toward the kitchen in search of a light, the shelled chestnut struck the tiger s eyes. And when the tiger reached for some water, the turtle bit the tiger s paw. Startled, the tiger stepped on the dog poop and slipped, falling on the gimlet.

You can find embers in the kitchen stove. Oh, no! It s so hot! Errrrrrrr!

The tiger fell on the straw mat when the mortar dropped from the shelf. Then, the straw mat rolled the tiger up and placed it on the carrying rack. Then the carrying rack took the tiger to the river and dropped him in.

You saved my life!

Help me please!


Chapter 05


Today is the last day of their trip here in Korea. So I’m going to try and show them a little about Korea’s modern history. They’ll be able to see how hard Koreans worked in the aftermath of the war, to accomplish what they have today.



A Divided Nation “DMZ? What is it, Ara? Is it a fun place to be?” Carlos asked as he munched on a cob of corn when he heard that they would be going to the DMZ, the Demilitarized Zone, the following day. He couldn’t understand why they would visit such an odd place. Ara looked at her grandma. Grandma’s hometown is Pyongyang in North Korea. But she has never been able to go back to her hometown ever since she left Pyongyang when she was eight. What she could do, however, was to visit the DMZ,

Tunnel #3 The North Korean army secretly dug a tunnel under the DMZ to infiltrate into South Korea.


Pieces of paper with wishful writings for unification hung on barbed wire at the border

the de facto borderline between South and North Korea. Grandma wanted Marina and Carlos to see the DMZ themselves. “Korea has a very unique history. The Korean War left many families separated, and people could not go to either the South or the North even if they wanted to. Just like how Germany was divided into the West and East before,” explained Grandma. Marina, who was dozing off, woke up all of a sudden when Grandma mentioned Germany. “Can’t Koreans in the South visit North Korea?” asked Marina. “Why not? You can go anywhere you want if you have a passport and a visa.” Ara smiled after hearing what Carlos had just said. 127

Demilitarized Zone According to the cease-fire agreement after the Korean War, the country was divided into two parts, the South and the North, along the 38th parallel. Two kilometers south and north of the truce line, comprise the Demitarized Zone, which runs across the peninsula. Since the DMZ was off limits for 40 years, it became a natural habitat for wildlife.

“That is, only if you get special permission from North Korea. And not everyone is eligible, either. Besides, even with special permission, you can only go to places designated by the North Korean government,” said Ara. “Do we have permission to travel to the DMZ then?” asked Carlos. “We’re only allowed to visit the DMZ on the South Korean side. We can’t go to the North Korean side at all. The DMZ is a cease-fire region. South of the DMZ, there is a region where civilians are prohibited from entering. Left untouched for 128

decades since the Korean War, that region has turned into a natural habitat for wildlife.� Ara remembered everything she had seen on a special TV documentary about the DMZ. Marina and Carlos got curious about the DMZ after hearing what Ara had told them. The following day, the bus to the DMZ set out early in the morning. After about an hour and a half, the bus arrived at Imjingak. There were many brochures about the Korean War

Imjingak national tourist site It has become a security sightseeing spot, with a unification park, North Korea memorial hall and various monuments.

and the guide explained about the Korean War.

Unification Pond An artificial pond was created inside Imgingak in hope of unification. Measuring 12 meters wide and 36 meters long, the pond covers approximately 35 square meters. It is the largest pond created in the shape of the Korean peninsula.


“See over there? That’s Unification Lake. The bridge over it is called Freedom Bridge. South Korean and UN soldiers who were taken as POWs (Prisoners of War) by North Korea had to cross that bridge to return to the South,” said the guide. According to illustrations on display, the Korean War, started by North Korea on June 25, 1950, lasted until the ceasefire in July 1953. In support of the South, a total of 16 countries, including the U.S., Great Britain and Turkey, fought in the Korean War as allied UN forces. “It must have been quite a big war with so many countries taking part,” Carlos spoke to himself. “Imjingak was built so that people could see North Korea from here. That’s why a lot of separated families come here


Freedom Bridge A temporary bridge built for POW exchanges in 1953 after the ceasefire.

when they get homesick,” said Ara. “Does your Grandma come here often, too?” asked Marina. “I heard that she used to come here at least once a year when she was younger. But she doesn’t any more,” Ara answered. Marina could kind of imagine what Koreans had to go through as she learned how Germany had suffered after World War Two. The Captain told them that Koreans were left on a land of devastation with nothing to eat in the aftermath of the war. Though they had to start from scratch, Koreans managed to pull themselves together and rebuild their nation in a short span of time. 131

Scenes of separated families at a reunion event Many Korean families were separated during the Korean War. A total of 10 million Koreans are estimated to have been separated.

“I guess that’s probably why U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech saying that countries in Africa should try to emulate Korea’s Saemaeul Movement, or the new community movement that helped its country move from rags-to-riches.” With everything destroyed, the black and white pictures of Korea taken 60 years ago had a bleak image. Marina couldn’t believe that Korea completely transformed itself in just 60 years. “I feel a little depressed today, talking so much about unhappy events,” Ara said to her uncle, sighing. “Me, too, but that’s all a part of what Korea is, Ara,” said her uncle to cheer her up. “When Korea becomes reunified, I’m going to invite my


Panmunjeom Located 50km north of Seoul, Panmunjeom is a joint security area, guarded by the UN and North Korean soldiers. Panmunjeom is the venue for interKorean and military talks. Now a famous tourist destination for foreign visitors, Panmunjeom is a historic site for Koreans, symbolizing the tragic Korean War.

friends and go on a trip to Sinuiju by train,” said Ara. “What a great idea, Ara! By then, you should be able to travel from Sinuiju to Europe via Siberia. What a wonderful trip that would be!” her uncle said with excitement. Tired, Ara closed her eyes and tried to imagine the day she would hop on the trans-continental train traveling from Seoul to Pyongyang and then to Europe passing through Russia.

The World Cup Stadium After about an hour’s ride on the Freedom Road from Imjingak, Ara and her friends arrived at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium. They entered the stadium which resembled a vast square with a sailboat beside it. Carlos ran around as if he were dribbling a soccer ball across the field. Then he motioned a kick toward the goal post. As if he made a goal, Carlos kissed his fist in celebration. “I feel as though I can hear the roaring of the Red Devils. Dae-

Figure built in commemoration of the 2002 World Cup

Seoul World Cup Stadium


Red Devils Official cheering squad for Korea’s national football team. Many Koreans wore red shirts with ‘Red Devils’ printed on them and carried red scarves to cheer on the Korean team during the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup games. Seoul Plaza was always filled with Red Devils at the time.

han-min-guk!” said Carlos, excited. “Clap, clap, clap clap, clap.” The four of them clapped their hands with the same beat as if they had planned it in advance. Marina and Carlos had seen the Red Devils root for the Korean team on TV. It was amazing how they filled the stadium and the streets with red. World Cup Stadium was spacious indeed. The field was covered with green grass. The Seoul World Cup Stadium was built for the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup. When viewed from 135

above, the stadium resembled the shape of Korea’s traditional shield kite. The four of them sat in the stands for a World Cup quiz game. “Now, the first question! How far did Korea make it during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup?” said Ara. “I know, I know! To fourth place!” shouted Carlos. “I knew it, too!” sighed Marina. Being a soccer fanatic, Carlos answered four of the five questions and won the quiz. He got a football as a prize.

Beautiful Ecological Park They walked out of the World Cup Stadium and headed to the World Cup Gallery, right across the street. When they crossed the street, they saw a big lake glittering in the sunlight. There were several people jogging around the lake. “What a gorgeous park!” shouted the kids. They decided to take a walk around the park after touring the World Cup Stadium. On the lake, they spotted ducklings swimming in a row. “Guess what this place was before?” asked the Captain. “Well, isn’t it just an ordinary park?” said Carlos, thinking that 136

World Cup Park The park was made in commemoration of the 17th World Cup games. To highlight the eco-friendly nature of the World Cup held in Seoul, it was created as an ecological park with five themes consisting of wetlands, flower garden, pond, dock and an unpaved marathon path.

it was odd the Captain asked such an obvious question. “Well, it used to be a landfill with trash of trash,” said the Captain. “What?” said Marina and Carlos, puzzled. “Called Nanjido, this place used to be a massive landfill before. But it has been transformed into a beautiful park, after 15 years of collaborative effort to restore the abandoned waste dump. A special pipe wall was built so that contaminated water seeping from the landfill did not flow back into the soil again. The polluted water then goes through a purifying process before flowing into the Han River. And the methane gas generated from the landfill is recycled as fuel,” explained the Captain. 137

“Wow! So garbage can be turned into energy?” said Carlos in awe. “That's right. What's more, a thick layer of good soil was used to cover the garbage dump. And a miracle happened. Life began to bloom there with plants, trees and even animals,” said the Captain. Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park It is within World Cup Park. Inside, there is a 28,000square-meter UNICEF Plaza, Nanji Lake (measuring 24,000 square meters), Peace Garden, Forest of Hope and World Cup Park Gallery.

The four of them passed by Pyeonghwa Park and began hiking up the hills of Haneul Park, which almost seemed to be up in the sky. They felt as if the birds and the lush trees all cheered them on during the hike.

Haneul (Sky) Park At Haneul Park, there are several wind turbines. The energy generated here is used to light the street lamps and the info desk inside the park.

At last, they reached the end of what seemed like an endless stairway. At the top of the hill, they felt a cool breeze greeting them. And there, they could see the Han River glowing in the sunset. After taking a walk around the Haneul Park, they came down to the riverside park. The lights on the bridge over the Han

Wooden stairway to Haneul Park

River began to glitter with the beaming lights of the moving

Natural logs are used to be more environment friendly.

cars. Marina and Carlos stared at the lights for a long time as if they didn't want to forget the beautiful night view of Seoul. 139

Korea in the World of Sports The 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup Korea co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with Japan. Team Korea scored 3 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats out of a total of 7 matches held. It was the first time for Korea to make it to the semi-finals at a World Cup since its debut at the global soccer gala 48 years ago. Korea is also the first country in Asia to have made it that far at the World Cup.

Jisung Park Jisung Park is a Korean football player who plays in England’s professional league for Manchester United. Manchester United is one of the world’s three most successful professional teams.


The World s Best Archery Team Korea’s archery team is second to none in the world. The Korean women’s team won gold medals at the Olympics 6 consecutive times. The news of Korean archers’ arrows breaking the camera behind the bull’s eye twice at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics aroused greater interest in the field.

Yuna Kim


Korea’s first figure skater to win the ISU championship, the Grand Prix Series as well as the Grand Prix Finals. With a record score of 207.71, she became the first female figure skater to break the 200 mark at the world championship.

Korea’s judo team is ranked second in the world earning 6 gold, 10 silver and 8 bronze medals at previous Olympic Games.


World Renowned Artists of Korea Koreans have long been known for their artistic talent. There are many world-renowned Korean artists in the fields of art, music and dance. Let s find out who they are and take a look at some of their works!

Myung Hwun Chung Korean pianist and conductor. Chung first grabbed the global spotlight when he won second prize at the 1974 Tchaikovsky piano competition. He served as the Music Director of the Opera de la Bastille at the Paris Opera from 1989 to 1994.

Sue Jin Kang Sue Jin Kang is the prima ballerina at the Stuttgart Ballet Company in Germany. She was the first Asian ballerina to join the German Ballet Company after winning the Prix de Lausanne in 1985. She won the Prix Benois dela Danse in 1999.


Nam June Paik A Korea-born video artist widely known as the father of video art. Paik gained fame in the early 1960s through his exhibitions. He received the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Biennale in 1993.

Han Na Chang A world-class Korean cellist deemed among the most important musicians of her generation. At the tender age of 11, Chang won First Prize as well as the Contemporary Music Prize at the 5th Rostropovich International Cello Competition in 1994.

Sumi Jo Korea’s representative soprano Sumi Jo is the first Korean to perform at all five major opera theaters of the world. The world-acclaimed soprano has won many awards, including a Grammy in 1992 and a Puccini in 2008. Her voice was described as “the voice of the century” by Herbert von Karajan.


Folk Tales at Grandma's Knee

One day, a young woman who openly farted married into a family with a pear orchard. The parents-in-law were very fond of the bride.

As days passed by, the bride s face turned pale. The father-in-law got worried.

What s bothering you dear? You don t look well.

Our daughter-in-law is such an angel. She is so pretty, too.

The father-in-law told the bride that it was okay to break wind but she was reluctant to do so. Then one day, the bride spoke to the entire family.

I m going to fart now. Prepare yourselves! Boom!


Well, it s because I haven t farted since marrying.

Bo om


The daughter-in-law began passing the gas that she had been saving for the past three years. The sound of the fart was like thunder and had a toxic smell.


The astonished parents-in-law had decided to send the bride back to her parents. But one day, as he walked beneath the pear tree, the father-in-law wanted to get a bite of the pear hanging high on the tree.

m h,


n ood



After that incident, the father-in-law brought the bride back home, thinking that her fart was a blessing. Ever since then, one could hear wind breaking whenever the family harvested pears.

I wish I could quench my thirst with that pear. I ll get the pear for you.

Our daughter-in-law s farts bring good fortune to our family.


Dear Ara, Hi, Ara! I can t belie ve it s been a week alrea dy since I le fun times I ft Korea. I m had with yo iss the u, Carlos an d th e family and I Captain. Ye looked at m sterday, my y pictures fr om Korea. M happy to see y parents w Korea, thou ere so gh only thro u g h p h otographs. I used to th ink that Ko rea was just a small cou have a comp ntry in Asia letely differe , but I nt view now that I got to Korea s cult see and expe ure firsthand rience . Though sm all in size, I so much to K realize that orea. I was s there s urprised to s ee how mod Korea was, ern and dev while cheris eloped hing its ages -o ld c u lt u The scenes re and tradit of big mans ion. ions with b lack-tiled ro Folk Villag ofs at the K e, the neat orean little handic rafts I saw breath-takin in Insadong g view of S and the eoul s night skyline from are still vivid the N Seoul in my memo Tower ry. But what I m iss the most is Korean fo od. The thou bulgogi still ght of makes my m outh water.


ith gogi w l u b k oo m to c o m y m

k g to as n i o g en Im e. me ev m e e d a v a m s ug ipe yo mer ha c m e r u s e s h family t ned to i thi y m a m r e e r t g o de rin p to K nd I m I can b n a , t , i a My tri s e i r v o such a I K o e t n i e m i t d m te g xt nteres the ne invitin xt t r a o f h t u more i o so any ne y d m k r r n a e a h G n o th sit Korea want t and vi I e , a m study r o c e. A n t you ir guid o e d h t y e h nd w istoric and b h A . e y h r t t ou un how y ting co s s e d r n e a t y in erman G d n u ? er aro summ ke you a t o t happy I d be . h! ountry c y m in touc p e e k sites in d care an e k a t , Well


Dear Captain ! Thanks again for your hos pitality and for making so much fun our trip to K . I had such orea a great time in Korea tha by in the bli t ten days p nk of an eye assed . Yesterday, I told my frie nds here abo ut my trip to were so env Korea and th ious. ey I feel like I v e become an expert on K orea already I was so imp . ressed by th e B-boys da ncing in Dae I ve done a hangno that little search of my own b ack at home club in my to . I found a s wn and have mall decided to jo in it. I m going to be busy now , with the B-b oy club and This trip to taekwondo. Korea got m e more inte rested in th diverse cultu e world and res. its I want to tra vel around th e globe and gain lots of like you, Ca experience ptain. Captain, if K orea gets to host another World Cup, invite me to please Korea again .


. Korea m a e T n heer o c d n a touch! ils n v i e p D e e sk Red so let in the n o i j a o g t a e ou I d lov eing y e s o t d forwar I look


Korea for Kids 2009 Edition Copyright 2009 Published by Korean Culture and Information Service Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism 15, Hyojaro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea Telephone : 82-2-398-1914~20 Fax : 82-2-398-1882 All rights reserved Korean Culture and Information Service Printed in Seoul ISBN 978-89-7375-152 563980 For further information about Korea, please visit :

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