With the moon shining brightly above, people come wandering onto the luminous streets of Seoul, looking for a source of entertainment. For these wandering souls, Seoul city is offering the 4th annual Seoul Open Night on Aug. 27. It is a cultural night in which various activities and programs are offered from noon to midnight at a cost of only 10,000 won. As the summer heat cools down late at night, people can find attractive events on a range of corners and alleys of Seoul, like playing a game of treasure hunt.
Designed to be open at seven different sites, each area has its own theme that well describes the nature of the location: awakening the living history of Jeong-dong, brightening the dynamic tradition of Insa-dong, glowing the gentle peacefulness of Bukchon, representing the spirited young fervor of Hongik University, in lieu of the dreaming people of Daehangno, foresting culture of downtown Songpa, and dreaming of a deviation from daily life at Samseong-dong.
Enjoying the night with a cultural pass at hand
A cultural pass allows access to events held during Seoul Open Night at an easily affordable price of 10,000 won, available through Interpark, an online shopping site. Depending on the theme and district, various cultural activities are provided in which foreigners and Koreans alike may be attracted to.
Having started in 1997, the nonverbal performance “Nanta” is a powerful show that all audiences can easily enjoy. By using a combination of kitchen utensils such as knives and cutting boards as percussion instruments, the performers create beats which has audiences bouncing their shoulders and communicating. Nowadays, “Nanta” is appraised as a cultural tourism performance representing Korea. For more information, call (02) 739-8288.
The Bukchon district cultural pass opens admission to 16 different museums and art galleries. Of the 16, there are a few locations that spread the fragrance of Korean culture: Gahoe Museum and Dong-lim Museum. Gahoe Museum features collections of amulets and folk paintings filled with the essence of mankind and hope. The exhibition site itself is in the form of a small traditional Korean-style house, welcoming visitors into a comfortable environment. The Dong-lim Museum introduces Korean tradition knot art, which includes knots for ornamental purposes, such as the norigae (Korean traditional ornament worn by women), and various materials needed for knot art. Visitors are able to participate in simple knot-making as well. For further information, visit the museum homepage for Gahoe Museum (http://www.gahoemuseum.org/) and Dong-lim Museum (http://www.shimyoungmi.com/).
Other districts offer performances and exhibits which may not necessarily represent Korean culture, but those that are enjoyed by Korean people.
Leaving for a cultural expedition around Seoul with a tour guide
Sightseeing is a procedure that must be taken when traveling around a city. Though there are several places in Seoul seldom introduced in guide books, tour guides will guide you around to such places. There are a total of four different types of tours: Architectural tour, fortress tour, bus tour, and Han River tour.
The architectural tour is divided into two sections, including traditional and modern architecture.
Traditional architecture can be seen through the Jeong-dong tour which is mostly based around Deoksugung. The tour starts at Hwangudan, a place where people used to practice sacrificial rites. At this site, there is a three floor high octagonal building and three plaster casts (the plaster casts symbolizes an instrument with gaudy dragon details around the outer border). From here, the group will move on to the main entrance of Deoksugung. Further in, there is the Jeonggwanheon, an ambulatory building where the King enjoyed refreshments and held banquets to listen to music. Then, the next site is Jungmyeonjeon, a reception room belonging to Deoksugung. It used to be inside the palace, but after constructions around the surrounding environment, it is now located outside the palace. Finally, the last destination is Doneumun, a Chosun Dynasty castle gate more widely known as Seodaemun.
The more modern architectural tour around the Hongik University area focus on high and unique buildings located within the district such as the Sangsang photo studio, W&H Building, and aA Design building.
Walking along the serene and cultured castle walls, the fortress tour is organized to allow tourists to observe a complete view of the city. The guide will explain unknown history behind the walls, providing chances for people to learn more about Korean history.
Touring around a region within a limited amount of time, the bus tour allows visitors to go through famous scenic points in an efficient manner. Divided into three sections, the bus tour is arranged around northern Seoul, eastern Seoul, and a night view of Seoul. The night view tour takes visitors around Jongro-gu, the center of Seoul. Starting from Gwanghwamun to Namsan, the night view tour takes people to places widely respected for its luminous city lights of Seoul.
Street performances and events for passers-by
Not only do people have to sign up for programs, but they can also walk by street performances and events to enjoy and experience the culture. At Insa-dong, there is a traditional music performance at 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. by the Korean percussionist group, Yadanbeobsuk. There will also be free entrance to the Taekgyeon tournament held from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Insa Cultural Ground.
There are also various traditional Korean music performances all around the seven different districts, which will be located at positions easily visible throughout.
As Seoul Open Night is organized to broaden the perspective of less widely known Korean culture to foreigners, Seoul city hopes to help organizations that support Korean culture. Furthermore, it offers an attractive and pleasurable time to those attending the event.
* Cultural Pass Programs According to District Jeong-dong District Insa-dong District Bukchon District Hongik Universiy District Daehangno District Songpa District Samseong-dong District
Hongik Universiy District