Jeonju, Creative Cities for Gastronomy as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network.
Jeonju is the 16th largest city in South Korea and the capital of North Jeolla Province. It is both urban and rural due to the closeness of Wanju County which almost entirely surrounds Jeonju. (Wanju County has many residents who work in Jeonju.) The name Jeonju literally means “Perfect Region”. It is an important tourist center famous for Korean food, historic buildings, sports activities, and innovative festivals. In May 2012, Jeonju was chosen as a Creative Cities for Gastronomy as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. This honour recognizes the city’s traditional home cooking handed down over thousands of years, its active public and private food research, a system of nurturing talented chefs, and its hosting of distinctive food festivals.
Jeondong Catholic Church in Jeonju (Historic Site No. 288) was built in honor of Roman Catholic martyrs of the Joseon Dynasty on the very same spot the martyrs lost their lives. The church was designed by Priest Poinel, who also designed the famous Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul. The first Romanesque building in the Honam region, the Jeondong Catholic Cathedral is made of gray and red bricks and bears a striking resemblance to the Myeongdong Cathedral in Seoul. Not only considered one of the most beautiful Catholic churches in Korea, some even go so far as to say it is one of the most beautiful structures in all of Korea, citing the church’s unique combination of Byzantine and Romanesque architectural styles.
Jeonju Hanok Village is located in the city of Jeonju and overlaps Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong. There are over 800 traditional Korean hanok houses.
Jeonju Hanok Village is especially beautiful for its unique roof edges, which are slightly raised to the sky. A part of Hanok has been set aside so that tourists can experience traditional Korean life, called Hanok Life Experience Hall. You can enter the rooms to experience the warm floor first-hand. An advantage of this system is that it is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The food provided is very traditional, which adds to the traditional ambience. At Jeonju Hanok Village, visitors can enjoy traditional Korean life and traditional foods like Jeonju-bibimbap, the most well known dish from the Jeonju region.
Not far from the Hanok Village on top of a small hill is the sight known as Omokdae, it is here that Yi Seong-gye, who would become the first King of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1897), stopped to celebrate his victory on his way home from a war with Japanese invaders at Hwangsan Mt, Unbong at the end of the Goryeo Era. Across from Omokdae is Imokdae, which is located near the foot of Seungamsan Mountain where Chimyeongjasan, a holy Catholic monument is placed. 80m down from Imokdae are memorial stones and a memorial house. From the top of this hill there are glimpses over the rooftops of neighbouring Hanok villages through the scattered trees.
Jeonju International Sori Festival is a global music festival centered on Korean vocals and music. It is a top performing arts festival where exquisite Korean and global music are brought together. The festival covers a wide array of performances, from fringe music performances to master performances by some of the world’s most recognizable voices. It is a fun, exciting festival where music, nature, and people come alive together.
WHERE TO STAY
The Arwon Old House, which moved the 250-year-old hanok in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province to the village below Mt. Jongnam in Wanjeong-gun, is an art museum that boasts modern architecture. With modern and traditional harmony in nature, Arwon presents a new place that has never been in the world. It is perfect to feel the depth and beauty of nature such as the scenery and winds of Jongnam Mountain. The Arwon Old House consists of 11 guest rooms of Cheonjin, Sangchae, Anchae, and Jeongae, consists of three hanok stay and one modern architecture connecting tradition and modern. Guests can enjoy the unique scent and dignity of Daecheong Maru, Chermasen and Hanok, which provide a unique experience by staying in nature with the same structure and temperate beauty. The Minimal stone-shaped room, built with modern materials, features hanok, and exquisite harmony with nature. The unique scenery and architectural beauty that have not been seen elsewhere are attractive.