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Goguryeo in Seorak

Posted February. 24, 2007 07:15,   


History is not just fossil remains. It is active like other living things. We sense it while watching TV. We can sense it through TV dramas featuring the history of Goguryeo and Balhae. We travel through our ancient history in a three dimensional screen. Sometimes, viewers themselves become Daejoyeong or experience high ambitions like Jumong. This is perhaps why the site where scenes are shot for this TV drama is very popular among people. Perhaps people’s visits reflect their decisive responses to the outside that try to steal our ancient history. Let us go to Hanhwa Resort in Seorak, Gangwon province where the drama “Daejoyeong” is being shot.

I will forever appreciate the beautiful scenery firsthand of snowy Mt. Seorak. This amazing sight seems to know no change. Its sharp snowy ridgeline still boasts its grandeur. If anything is ever changed, it could be a change in popular sentiment toward it. Incidentally, it is losing popularity and stature among the public due to the Mt. Geumgang tourism frenzy sweeping across the country like a storm.

The opportunity to appreciate Misiryeong (Misi Ridge) after following a snake-shaped hill, steep mountains, dark valleys and the grandeur of Woi-Seorak has disappeared due to the construction on the high hill of Misi. Thanks for the fast and safe transportation! Yet how can we revisit our nostalgia for the old days? As the world is fast and consistently changing, there is nothing to blame but the ticking of the clock.

The Misiryeong Tunnel has also changed the fate of the bean-flower village, which is located at an entrance of a narrow hill in Sokcho. Here is a valley of Daegan Ridge, Misiryeong, a rough sand plain formed by strong winds in Haksapyeong. Despite the harsh habitat, residents have managed to build a village here, so-called Dubu (Tofu) village, and their livelihood depends on visitors who are dying to taste Dubu. However, with a new road linking to the tunnel being built close by, villagers now start to concern about their livelihood. However, the delicious taste of Dubu is still alive, so it might be better to indulge in it when you visit the East Sea or Sokcho.

Let’s now turn to the location of a studio for the drama “Daejoyeong” at the Hanhwa Resort. A wall is the only boundary dividing it and the Dubu village. This $7 billion studio’s name is Seorak Cinerama. Nearly 120 buildings are crowded there, including an 18 meter-high replica royal palace of the Dang dynasty and a reconstructed palace for Goguryeo.

This particular site is differentiated from 40 other field locations nationwide. Most of them have limitations, as they are built only for drama shooting. But here, it is just like a gigantic theme park. Just a glimmer of a building demonstrates that this is no small thing. One’s first impression may be quite different, as it is a real cement building. Operation of it, however, is also another reality. Entertainers with customs of the old days like the Dang dynasty and Goguryeo greet guests, deliver performances and take pictures with visitors.

Hanhwa Resort paid for its total construction and land to use it as a theme park and field location once the drama is finished. This explains why the entrance fee is rather expensive (6,000 won) compared to other field locations. Restaurants and other attractions will eventually be housed here, and additional performance will be launched.

A giant monument stands at its entrance. It is the tomb of King Gwanggaeto the Great which modeled after an original in China. Let’s look at the inside. Behind a massive flag, a mammoth castle wall and gate greet us. After passing a chief gatekeeper dressed as a soldier, the villages meet us. Look up at the sky. The scenery of Mt. Seorak covers half of the sky, along with Geumgang cave, Ulsan rock, the dinosaur-shaped ridge, Misiryeong, and snow-capped Daecheongbong; a harmonious scene of the shooting site and the mountain.

Passing the village, a huge palace appears. From here, we travel into the age of the Dang dynasty. This Zi Jin Cheng of Beijing-modeled site often appears on TV dramas. If you turn right, you can see the old days’ downtown of the Dang dynasty and then that of Goguryeo. The plot of Daejoyeong is going to thicken; Daejoyeong and Seolingui, the governor of Andong province, confront one another at this very place. So, if you visit here before watching the scene on TV, it will add to your thrill.

If you are lucky, maybe you will win a bonus: firsthand witnessing of the filming. The shooting site for Daejoyeong is harmonious with the sea, mountains, and delicious restaurants. There is no better place for family travel than here.