Hahoe Mask Village
Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
6Trip End Oct 01, 2011
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We arrived at the outer village, which was a newly built area with a museum, restaurants and trinket shops built to look like the historic area and alleviate some of the tourist pressure during the busy summer months. We then took a 10-minute walk along the river to the main village
Upon reaching the outskirts of the village you could feel the antiquity and old world charm radiating from the structures. Our tour guide explained to us that the houses here were unique because as opposed to Korean tradition they were not all built to face south. Instead they were built to face the river as it curved a not too gentle arc around the town. As a result the houses of Hahoe face outward, all radiating from the center of town. Small narrow streets bordered by short ancient clay and rock walls mirrored this pattern. Many of the houses in the village had beautifully tiled roofs and the exterior walls were built using old replaced roof tiles. We visited several of the houses and in one of them we went in and made pottery (chopshi). Our guide explained to us that Hahoe village was famous for masks and the masked dances performed here. Unfortunately we were unable to see the dances performed but we were treated to seeing the masks and carved wooden statues of many different designs and characters.
We left the village with our purchased masks, puppets and other trinkets and also a feeling of peace and hope for a future full of many preserved and cherished traditions from all around the world. We all felt that the long journey was worth it.