Alleys

The Alleys of Bukchon Bukchon, Formed Along Waterways

In the past, there were some waterways from the northern ridgeline of the mountain to the southern hilly district. These waterways running from the north to the south were some of the most important water sources in Seoul. Neighborhoods created around the waterways include Jaet-gol, Maenghyeon-gol, Jaesaengweon-gol, Weon-gol and others. The neighborhoods and the areas in between were set on high ground, using the ridgelines as the basis for the borders of each administrative zone.
A large waterway named Junghakcheon(Stream) flows along the east wall of Gyeongbokgung(Palace) by Samcheong-dong.

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Around the small waterways in the east are Hwa-dong, Anguk-dong and Songhyeon-dong. Gahoe-dong Waterway runs through Gahoe-dong and Unhyeongung(Palace) and is a relatively big stream with plenty of water.
Gye-dong Waterway and Wonseo-dong Waterway run parallel to Gahoe-dong Waterway, beginning at New Seonwonjeon and flowing along the wall of Changdeokgung(Palace), passing through the inner part of Changdeokgung(Palace) towards Waryong-dong.

This is Dongsibjagak at the eastern end of Gyeongbokgung (Palace). It’s the road towards Samcheong-dong and is widened with reclamations work but it used to be waterway.

As the city's population density rose and the waterways were reclaimed, the residential district infringed upon the ridgelines and their demarcations became unclear.
However, the territorial castles along the north-south line retained the names of their neighborhoods.

The meaning of the alleys

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The alleys in Bukchon wind and twist between houses. Everyday life in hanoks take place not only within the houses but also outside the houses in the alleys. In the alleys, housewives hang out the wash and dry grains and hot peppers.
Children are playing there as well since alleys are another yard to them. In alleys, adults have friendly conversations and the elderly are rest and converse amongst themselves. For visitors, the alleys of Bukchon are an interesting window into the ordinary lives of ordinary Koreans.

Recalling Past Memories: Bukchon Alleys

Hwadong-gil started with two marble monuments with the epitaphs "The place the firearm ministry was located" and "The place Seong Sammun lived in.”This alley is maze-like, twisting and turning, widening and narrowing like a watercourse.
At some spots the width is so narrow that it’s hard to avoid brushing shoulders with other people, yet at other spots, it is so wide that a horse or a cow can pass by.
Because of this, it is the place only that no cars are allowed. In the narrow alley, two small plant pots on the side of seep stairs gives us warm feelings.