Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sites : Gamcheon Culture Village Busan (감천문화마을 부산)

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps Korea 2016 Sites / Gamcheon Culture Village Busan (감천문화마을 부산)
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Gamcheon Culture Village Busan (감천문화마을 부산)

Busan, South Korea - June 2016
The Gamcheon Cultural Village is an interesting place, one full of live, colour (definitely!) and with artwork (murals and sculptures) dotting its streets. It's one of the major attractions in Busan and should not be missed while visiting South Korea. It has steep streets and stepped roads, a maze of narrow alleys; and a brightly jigsaw puzzle combo of colourful houses that makes it a very recognisable neighbourhood of Busan.
Gamcheon sitting on a steep foothill was first inhabited in the early 1900's by members of the Taegeukdo religious sect, hence it is also know as Taegeukdo Village. It was a small village with only about 20 houses up to the 1940s. But during the Korean War in the early 1950s, its population swelled as many war refugees fled to Busan to escape the ravages of the war. Busan was the only area in the peninsula that was not affected by the war. The city's population swelled and became rather crowded, and about 4,000 refugees moved from the port area surrounding Jaglachi Fish Market to Gamcheon. They erected about 800 make-shift houses. (... for more on the history of Gamcheon Village click here).

Gamcheon does indeed have steep streets, even on the way there. We were on a cycling tour of South Korea and decided to cycle there. The steep roads really took their toll on us. Nevertheless, it was one good experience and reaching & experiencing the village was ample reward itself.

A colourful map of Gamcheon greeted us as we arrived at the village. It sort of looked like a flying horse heralding us to enter and be amazed by its village.

The first thing visitors should do is to visit the Gamcheon Tourist Information Office (situated right at the North entrance) and get the Gamcheong Tourist Map/Phamplet at 2,000KRW each. The map provides recommended walking routes for exploring the place, gives some information of its culture and development; it even provides the names of the artworks, the painters and a brief philosophy of the art piece. Extracts from this brochure is shown at the bottom of this blog.
Below are photos I took while on our visit there:


Fish-eye view of Gamcheon, taken from a wall poster at the Gamcheon Museum.

Panaromic view of Gamcheon, taken from a wall poster at the Gamcheon Museum.

Panaromic view showing the houses straddling the hill slopes of a valley.

Fish-eye view showing also the steep road winding up the village.

Another valley panoramic view.

A mirror image of Gamcheon, sort of an artwork of my own.

Window view from one of the art houses.

Narrow side alley view.


The main street just after the North entrance.

One of the narrow back alleys.

A narrow & steep stepped side alley.

A slightly wider side alley. Gamcheon is full of this alleys, do explore as some of this reveal surprising views of the people, the houses and artwork.

Steps leading art to some artwork and also a strategic viewpoint.

Steps at commercial areas with shops tend to be wider.


The Gamcheon Museum, this is located slightly after the North entrance.

The Cheon Deok Su's Well.

The Story of Cheong Deok Su's Well.

Murals near the Cheon Deok Su's Well.

A colourful cafe.

A shop, called the Grand Budapest Doll Hotel, with murals of clocks on a blue wall, something similar to Salvador Dali's painting "The Persistence of Memory". Oddly, the shops does not sell dolls or clocks; it sells leather goods.

A shop selling love locks in the shapes of heart for loving couples visiting Gamcheon.

A mural of a loving kissing couple at the side of the Love Locks shop; at the roof balcony above, many couples have left the testament of their love in Gamcheon.

This happy guy operates a stall selling personalised bracelets and mugs.

An earnest ice-cream vendor, his stall is located at a souvenir shop near the North entrance.

Souvenir fridge magnets shaped after some of the houses. 

An assortment of hats & caps for visitors to cover up during a hot day. Also sold here are plastic flower garlands.

Colourful shoes with Korean characters inscribed within them. These are souvenir items and not meant for wearing.

Models of the houses.


At the main street; a sculpture called "Sweet Whispers Of Dandelions" by Shin Mugyeong.

Within one of the viewpoint houses, a psychedelic 3-D mural.

A large fish wall mural made up from smaller pieces of stylised fish paintings on planks. This is titled "Fish Swimming Through The Alley" by Jin Yeongseop. (... to view more of Gamcheon's street art, click here)


These are maps of Gamcheon, some were extracted from tourist brochure, some from street information signboards (click on respective photo for enlarged view).

The Gumcheon Culture Village Map.

Map key listing major places in the village; to be read in conjunction with the map above.

The 5th edition of the village 3-D map, showing location of some of the more prominent buildings and also the recommended walking routes.

The Gamcheon Culture Village Guide Map. This shows photos of some attractions and also the recommended walking routes; at the bottom is a step-by-step key locations along the walking routes.

Another map of the village showing some key locations.


These are extracts from the Tourist Brochure (click on respective photo for an enlarged view):

Write-ups on the village community.

Characteristics & Values of Gamcheon Culture Village.

Community activities at Gamcheon.

Titles and description of the street art, the numbers refer to their location on the maps within the tourist brochure.

More titles and description of the street art.

Gamcheon 2(i)-dong, Saha-gu, Busan, South Korea.
Tel: +82 70-4219-5556

GPS: 35.09745, 129.01059
(Click here for Google Street View)

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You are at - Jotaro's Blog / Footsteps Korea 2016 Sites / Gamcheon Culture Village Busan (감천문화마을 부산)
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