45 years ago my parents left their home with their life’s savings and three young daughters clutched in their hands, fear in their bellies. At a time when there was no internet, much less reliable fiber optics and plane travel was a luxurious expense, this wasn’t “see you soon” it was goodbye.
A green swath of 400 square miles splits the peninsula in half.
This land has been burned, pillaged, occupied and degraded from the Japanese invasions from 1592 to 1598 to the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945.
This land was divided in half at the 38th parallel after World War II.
Backed by the Soviet Union and China the North pushed their way south starting a three year war that subjected the land to widespread devastation destroying cities, forests and families.
Not peace, but an armistice, settled the conflict. The demilitarized zone was created as each side agreed to move their troops back 2,200 yards from the front line, creating a buffer zone 2.5 miles wide. A buffer zone of heavily armed soldiers. A buffer zone that reminds us peace is still not here. A buffer zone keeping loved ones out of reach.
Changdeokgung Palace was the second royal villa built following the construction of Gyeongbukgung Palace in 1405. It was the principal palace for many kings of the Joseon Dynasty, and is the most well-preserved of the five remaining royal Joseon palaces. The palace gained importance during the reign of the 9th king of Joseon when he used it as a place of residence. Unfortunately, the palace was burned down by angry citizens in 1592 when the royal family fled their abode during the Japanese invasion of Korea. Restoration work began in 1623 during the reign of King Injo.
Korean Folk Village was created to preserve and present the national culture to local and international tourists alike. Based on the Joseon Dynasty period real houses have been relocated from different parts of the country and reconstructed to re-enact the daily living of over a century ago.