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[Seoul] Off Seoullo 7017

Published Date : Aug. 31, 2017 / Edited Date : Feb. 13, 2019
Written and photographed by Robert Koehler

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Grit, history and flavor await west of Seoul Station. Though Seoullo 7017 is worth seeing in its own right, Seoul’s elevated park is also an excuse to discover some of the city’s most under-appreciated neighborhoods. The hilly, largely working class zone west of Seoul Station is a rough batter of modern history, urban grit, residential tranquility, scenic beauty and, increasingly, creative sophistication. It’s an area you could spend all day exploring, wandering its claustrophobic alleys, taking in its panoramic views, drinking in its history and savoring its culinary offerings.
 
A piece of footwear history
 
Spanning the railway tracks just north of Seoul Station, the Yeomcheongyo Bridge links the Namdaemun district to the east and the Jungnim-dong district to the west. It’s also the location of Yeomcheongyo Shoe Street, the birthplace of Korea’s handmade shoe industry. Around 130 cordwainers have workshops in an aging building atop the historical bridge. Some of them have been in the business for decades. You’ll find all sorts of finely crafted shoes here, from dress shoes to hiking boots and dance shoes. Yeomcheongyo Shoe Street’s history begins in 1925, the year Seoul Station opened, leading to an influx of people and merchants. After the Korean War, local craftsmen began repairing and reselling old U.S. army boots. Soon, however, they were making handmade shoes of their own. During Korea’s development years, when a pair of handmade shoes was a must, Yeomcheongyo’s merchants enjoyed a golden age. In 1974, when a bowl of jajangmyeon cost 50 won, a pair of handmade men’s shoes cost 14,000 won. In the 1990s, however, competition from imports and a decline in interest in handmade shoes hit Yeomcheongyo Shoe Street hard. Moreover, with less young people learning the craft, the  cordwainers are growing fewer and fewer in numbers. Still, efforts are being made to revitalize the street, which many are now rediscovering thanks to Seoullo 7017.

If you’re at Yeomcheongyo Shoe Street, be sure to stop into Cafe Moon, a delightfully vintage coffee shop in the historical arcade building. The menu, décor and music will really take you back, and English is spoken. Overlooking Yeomcheongyo Shoe Street to the west is Yakhyeon Hill, or “Medicinal Herb Hill.” Crowning the hill is Jungnim-dong Catholic Church, also known as Yakhyeon Catholic Church, Korea’s oldest Western-style church. Erected in 1892 and restored in 1998 following a fire, the brick church, designed by French missionaries, mixes Gothic and Romanesque elements. It also provides views of Sungnyemun Gate and the Namdaemun district.
 
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A new hot spot?
 
While it might not seem like much at first glance, Malli-dong is fast becoming one of Seoul’s newest hot spots. Thanks to its position as Seoullo 7017’s western gateway, the older, hillier neighborhood behind Seoul Station is home to a growing number of trendy eateries, cafes and pubs. With a number of places of historical interest and scenic beauty, it’s a neighborhood worth exploring in its own right. The views begin as soon as you descend Seoullo 7017. In Malli-dong Square, the western entrance to the park, you’ll find Yunseul, a sunken garden that resembles an amphitheater covered by a set of stainless steel louvers. In addition to reflecting images of the city above, the louvers cast light and shadows on the floor of the garden, an uneven space composed of 2,800 steps. Its an optically mesmerizing experience.

While Malli-dong Square might be spotless and new, the neighborhood around it is anything but. Malli-dong’s charms lie in its timeworn storefronts and gritty alleyways, the latter sheltering an eclectic mix of older homes and businesses and creatively renovated spaces. How long Malli-dong remains this way before it is gentrified beyond recognition is anybody’s guess, so it’s best to see it now.

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One Malli-dong hot spot that requires no introduction is Very Street Kitchen, a trendy eatery serving beautifully prepared dishes based on street cuisine from around the world. It also does creative takes on Korean cuisine such as French-style steamed kimchi and pork cooked in white wine and steamed ribs served with Milanese risotto. Housed in a century-old granite building, the restaurant exudes a flair befitting a space owned and operated by renowned furniture designer Oh Joon.

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Much easier to miss – thanks to the lack of signage - is Reasonable Kitchen, an intimate restaurant and pub tucked away on a side street. Friendly owner and chef XXX, who grew up in the neighborhood, turns out delightful, home-style spicy chicken stew, or dakbokkeumtang, using no artificial condiments like MSG. You’ll find plenty of other Korean pub grub options, too, and the soju list boasts cheap favorites as well as high-end, handcrafted brands like Hwayo and Moonbaesool.

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A hidden gem is Bidulki House, a guest house and cafe hidden in Malli-dong’s network of alleyways. Run by the same family for three generations, the guest house is an old Korean-style inn, or yeoinsuk. The space preserves the old yeoinsuk layout, including narrow corridors and staircases, but with tastefully renovated décor and amenities. The rooftop garden offers views of the surrounding neighborhood, including Seoul Square and Seoullo 7017. The cafe on the first floor is a cozy spot to relax over a coffee.

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Just up the street from Bidulki House is HyunSangSo, an old photo processing lab that has been converted into a cafe and exhibit space. The wide open space, with its wooden floors, high ceiling white walls and vintage furniture and lamps, is warm and atmospheric. The menu, hand-written and delivered in white envelopes, includes such innovative creations as sea salt cream espresso and coconut base lavender lemonade.

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Malli-dong’s alleyways are full of history. Just across the street from Seoul Station is the 200-seat Baik-Chang Theater, home to the National Theater Company of Korea. Named for two of Korea’s greatest thespians, Baik Sung-hee and Chang Min-ho, the bright red complex of stacked containers and remodeled warehouses and garages used to be a motor pool for an army counterintelligence unit. In addition to the Baik-Chang Theater, the complex includes NTC Creative Space Pan, a smaller, 80-seat theater designed for cozier performances.

Not far from the Baik-Chang Theater is Gaemi Supermarket, an old colonial era home that has served as a local grocery store and meeting place for decades. Recently repainted red, the shop, which is still a functioning grocery store, is covered in Polaroid photos of the many visitors who have come to see this little piece of old Seoul. Further along, across the main street, Mallijae-ro, atop a hill overlooking the neighborhood, is Son Kee Chung Memorial Hall, a museum dedicated to Son Ki Chung, the gold medalist in the marathon in the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. Growing in front of the museum, the former main hall of Yangjeong Middle School, Son’s alma mater, is an old laurel tree, a gift to Son from, ahem, the German chancellor at the time.

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A piece of old Seoul
 
Just next to Malli-dong is Cheongpa-dong, another neighborhood being rediscovered after the opening of Seoullo 7017. A low-rise, largely working class neighborhood on a hilltop overlooking Seoul Station, Cheongpa-dong was a Japanese residential district during the colonial era. After Korea’s liberation from colonial rule in 1945, wealthy Koreans moved in, building Korean-style Hanok homes. In the 1970s, working class families began settling in the area, building simple, Western-style brick houses. Low-cost apartments and larger, multifamily homes followed in the 1980s. As a result, the hillside is a dense collection of Japanese, Korean and Western style dwellings, a scene architecture scholar Im Seok-jae called a virtual “museum of 20th century housing.”

To explore Cheongpa-dong properly is to get lost in its web of alleyways, discovering what lies just beyond every corner. Sitting atop a hill, the neighborhood offers fine views over the city, particularly the Seoul Station area and, beyond it, Mt. Namsan. Although older neighborhood institutions such as Cheongpa-dong Photo Studio and Waffle House are slowly being joined by newer cafes, restaurants and businesses, the area is still mostly quiet and residential.
On the western slope of Cheongpa-dong’s hill is Malli Market, an old-school outdoor market where you can find food, groceries and sundries. Hidden in one of the market’s alleyways is Seongu Barbershop, one of the the city’s most fascinating pieces of living history. Run by Lee Nam-yeol, a third-generation barber, Seongu Barbershop has remained virtually unchanged since Lee’s grandfather founded the place in 1927. Indeed, the only alteration made to the ramshackle wood buildings with misaligned doors and a noticeable tilt is the slate roof, which replaced a straw roof that blew away in a typhoon in 1959. While the place may look like it’s on the verge of collapse, the place keeps going strong with a loyal customer base who treasure Lee’s old school haircuts and the authentically vintage charm of his establishment.

Cheongpa-dong’s younger side can be experienced around Sookmyung Women's University. As you’d expect, the area surrounding one of the city’s major universities boasts a wide range of cafes and restaurants catering to a student clientèle. One local favorite that should not be missed is Oppa Egg Bread, a small shop serving “super big” egg breads, a snack of sweet bread baked with egg, cheese and other fillings. Gone is the rooftop sign that once implored, “Eat me, baby,” but the cheap, tasty breads remain. For more substantial, but still reasonably priced eats, head to Goobok Mandu, a dumpling shop near exit 3 of Sookmyung Women's University Station. Cozy, simple and cheap, the shop’s authentically Chinese dumplings, based on a recipe handed down by the Chinese owner-chef’s grandmother, are so good that they earned the place a mention in the 2017 Michelin Guide Seoul.
Tags

#Cheongpa-dong #Malli-dong #Park #Seoullo 7017 #Yunseul #Landmark #Seoullo

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 3일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 기존 등록된 예약 중 그룹별 정원을 초과하지 않는 예약에 한하여 1일 전 17시까지 추가예약 가능합니다.
  • 최소 출발 인원은 3인부터 입니다. 관광일 2일 전 17시까지 누적예약인원이 3인 미만일 경우 예약은 자동 취소되며, 출발 및 취소 여부는 문자와 메일로 안내드립니다.
  • 다음달 예약은 전달 15일 이후부터 가능합니다.
  • 주말 및 공휴일, 봄 가을 성수기에는 예약이 조기 마감될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 보호자가 동반하지 않는 만 14세 미만의 하동 관광객의 경우 현장에서 취소됩니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최대 6개월 전부터 최소 5일 전 까지 신청 가능합니다.
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 특히 주말 및 공휴일, 봄(4~5월) 가을(9~11월) 성수기에는 예약이 조기마감 되오니 이 점 유의하여 주시기 바랍니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.
    (최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 경복궁, 창덕궁, 창경궁, 덕수궁 35인 이상 관람 시, 해당 궁궐 사이트에서 15일 전 단체 입장신청이 필요합니다. (2014.1.1.부터 시행)
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 보호자가 동반하지 않는 만 14세 미만의 하동 관광객의 경우 현장에서 취소됩니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 덕수궁의 경우 복지카드를 지참한 관광객에 한하여 무료입장이 가능합니다.
    ※ 중증(1~3급) 동반인 포함 2명 무료※ 경증(4~6급) 장애인 본인 1인만 무료
  • 보호자 또는 보조자가 동반하지 않을 경우 이용이 불가능 합니다.※ 별도의 보조자가 없는 경우 사무국으로 문의 바랍니다. (02-6925-0777)
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.(최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 덕수궁의 경우 복지카드를 지참한 관광객에 한하여 무료입장이 가능합니다.
    ※ 중증(1~3급) 동반인 포함 2명 무료
    ※ 경증(4~6급) 장애인 본인 1인만 무료
  • 본 프로그램은 수화해설 중심으로 진행되며, 수화가 불가능한 경우 이용이 불가합니다.
  • 희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.
    (최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

예약 전 안내사항

  • 예약은 관광일 기준 최소 1주일 전까지 가능합니다.
  • 본 코스는 보행약자(거동이 불편한 고령자, 장애인, 유모차 이용자 등)를 위한 코스입니다.
  • 보호자를 동반하지 않을 시 이용이 불가능 합니다.※ 보행약자 1명당 보호자 최소 1인 이상 동반
    ※ 전동보장구(전동휠체어, 전동스쿠터 등) 사용자의 경우 보호자 1인당 보행약자 최대 4인까지 동반 가능
    희망하시는 날짜 및 코스에 활동가능한 해설사가 없는 경우 예약은 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 예약확인을 위해 도보관광 사무국(02-6925-0777)에서 확인 연락이 진행됩니다.(최소 5일~한달 전)3회 이상 전화통화가 이뤄지지 않을 시 예약이 취소될 수 있습니다.
  • 해설 진행 시 발생하는 안전사고에 대해서 도보관광 사무국과 서울문화관광해설사는 책임을 지지 않습니다.
  • 미세먼지 비상저감조치 발령 및 기타 기상악화(폭염, 태풍, 폭우 등)로 인해 도보관광 운영이 어려운 경우 모든 예약은 일괄 취소됩니다. (관광일 전날 기준)

Read before Reservation

  • Reservation shall be made at least 3 days before the tour day.
  • Reservation for the next month is available after 15th of the previous month.
  • Reservation may be closed early during weekend, holiday, and peak season in spring and fall.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office and Seoul culture and tourism guide are not liable for the safety accidents during the Seoul Guided Walking Tour.
  • Reservation for unaccompanied tourist under 14 will be canceled on site.
  • All reservations are canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour is unavailable due to Particulate Matter Reduction Measure or other weather conditions (heat wave, typhoon, heavy rain). (As of the date before the tour day)

Read before Reservation

  • Reservation shall be made at least 1 week before the tour day.
  • The course is for tourists with mobility problems (Senior, people with disability, stroller user).
  • You may not use the course without an assistant (or companion)
    ※ At least one assistant shall accompany a tourist with mobility problem
    ※ In case of electric assisting device users (electric wheelchair, electric scooter users), one assistant may accompany up to 4 tourists with mobility problem
  • Reservation may be canceled when a guide is unavailable on the desired date and course.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office (02-6925-0777) will contact you to confirm reservation.
    (At least 5 days~1 month before tour day) Reservation may be canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office cannot reach you for more than 3 times.
  • Seoul Guided Walking Tour Office and Seoul culture and tourism guide are not liable for the safety accidents during the Seoul Guided Walking Tour.
  • All reservations are canceled when Seoul Guided Walking Tour is unavailable due to Particulate Matter Reduction Measure or other weather conditions (heat wave, typhoon, heavy rain). (As of the date before the tour day)

予約前の案内事項

  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも3日前まで可能です。
  • 翌月の予約は、前月の15日から可能です。
  • 週末及び祝日、春秋シーズンには予約が早めに締め切られる場合があります。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局と
    ソウル文化観光解説士は責任を負いません。
  • 保護者を伴わない万14歳未満の児童観光客の場合、現場でキャンセルされます。
  • PM 2.5(ピーエムにてんご)の非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって徒歩観光の運営が困難な場合、すべての予約は一括キャンセルされます。
    観光日前日基準)

予約前の案内事項

  • 予約は観光日を基準として少なくとも1週間前まで可能です。
  • 本コースは、移動弱者(移動が不自由な高齢者、障害者、ベビーカー利用者など)のためのコースです。
  • 補助人(或いは同行人)を伴わない場合は利用できません。
      ※歩行弱者1人当たり少なくとも1人以上の補助人を伴う
      ※電動補助具(電動車椅子、電動スクーターなど)使用者の場合、補助人1当たり歩行弱者最大4人まで同伴可能
  • ご希望の日付及びコースに活動可能な解説士がいない場合、予約はキャンセルされることがあります。
  • 予約を確認するため、徒歩観光事務局(02-6925-0777)で確認のための連絡が行われます。
    (少なくとも5日~1ヶ月前)3回以上電話が通じない場合、予約が取り消されることがあります。
  • 解説を進行する時に発生する安全事故に対し、徒歩観光事務局とソウル文化観光解説士は
    責任を負いません。
  • PM 2.5(ピーエムにてんご)の非常低減措置発令及びその他の気象悪化(猛暑、台風、暴雨など)によって
      徒歩観光の運営が困難な場合、すべての予約は一括キャンセルされます。
     (観光日前日基準)

预约前说明事项

  • 观光日基准最少3日前方可进行预约。
  • 下个月的预约可从前月15日开始。
  • 周末及公休日、春秋旺季的预约可早期结束。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光
    解说员概不负责。
  • 未伴随保护者的未满14岁儿童游客,会在现场取消观光。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
    (观光前日基准)

预约前说明事项

  • 观光日基准最少1日前方可进行预约。
  • 本线路是为了行动不便者(行动不便的高龄者、残疾人、婴儿车利用者等)的路线。
  • 无辅助人员(或同行人)伴随时,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的辅助人员陪同。
    ※ 电动辅助器具(电动轮椅、电动独轮车等)使用者时,每一位辅助人员最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 为了确认预约,徒步观光事务局(02-6925-0777)会致电进行确认。
    (最少5日~一个月前) 3次以上无法连接时,预约将被取消。
  • 进行解说时,对于有可能发生的安全事故,徒步观光事务局和首尔文化观光解说员概不负责。
  • 因发布微尘紧急低减措施及其他气象恶化(暴热、台风、暴雨等),无法运营 徒步观光时,所有预约会批量取消。
    (观光前日基准)

預約前說明事項

  • 觀光日基準最少3日前方可進行預約。
  • 下個月的預約可從前月15日開始。
  • 周末及公休日、春秋旺季的預約可早期結束。
  • 希望观光的日期及线路上无解说员时,预约有可能被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光解說員概不負責。
  • 未伴隨保護者的未滿14歲兒童遊客,會在現場取消觀光。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。(觀光前日基準)

預約前說明事項

  • 觀光日基準最少1日前方可進行預約。
  • 本線路是為了行動不便者(行動不便的高齡者、殘疾人、嬰兒車利用者等)的路線。
  • 無輔助人員(或同行人)伴隨時,不可利用。
    ※ 步行不便者1名至少需要1名以上的輔助人員陪同。
    ※ 電動輔助器具(電動輪椅、電動獨輪車等)使用者時,每壹位輔助人員最多可陪同 4名步行不便者。
  • 希望觀光的日期及線路上無解說員時,預約有可能被取消。
  • 為了確認預約,徒步觀光事務局(02-6925-0777)會致電進行確認。
    (最少5日~壹個月前) 3次以上無法連接時,預約將被取消。
  • 進行解說時,對於有可能發生的安全事故,徒步觀光事務局和首爾文化觀光 解說員概不負責。
  • 因發布微塵緊急低減措施及其他氣象惡化(暴熱、臺風、暴雨等),無法運營 徒步觀光時,所有預約會批量取消。 (觀光前日基準)