Busan, October 2018
Gamcheon Culture Village
The Gamcheon Cultural village is a small town lodged between multiple hills right outside of Busan. It used to be interchangeable with other villages in the area perhaps even poorer than others, and still developing. In 2009, however, the South Korean government decided to renovate the whole village to what it has now become. It has won multiple awards, and has become a big tourist attraction for anyone visiting Busan. Dubbed "Lego City" and "Korean Machu Pichu", the village is filled with murals and colourful buildings, perfect for spending a day taking pictures and enjoying the views of the rolling hills.
Initially, the government tackled the renovation program by funding the Art Factory in Dadaepo, a collective of local artists. They were then in charge of making art works all around Gamcheon, as well as transforming abandoned buildings into community spaces such as gallaries and cafe's, were resedents now work.
There are now many types of artworks. Most buildings are decorated with murals, but there are also those who have statues or other 3-dimensional pieces.
While there are plenty of original pieces in the village, some murals have fun pop-culture references.
One of the fun features of the village, is the stamp hunting game you can do while you're there. Armed with a map, you are instructed to find the numbered spots scattered throughout the village and collect the stamps onto the map. If you've gathered them all, you can get a postcard at the Information Centre.
This fish made of small boards is one of the most iconic features of the village, made by Jin Yŏngsŏp (진영섭) As such, many reiterations are found all around town.
The Gamcheon village was originally not built with any city planning in mind, but quickly built for the many refugees who moved during and after the Korean War. One feature of villages of that kind is that they usually have 'brick-shaped' buildings and dwindling allyways.
One of these allies is now known as the "Stair To See Stars". These stairs are so long, that it is said that if you climb them, you'll literally see stars.
The village is situated between multiple hills. So while it's certainly worth walking around in the village itself, the views from a higher vantage point are also not to be missed.
Even higher up, there are still plenty of small artworks.