Hahoe and Yangdong

'Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong' comprises the two most representative historic clan villages in the Republic of Korea.

They preserve Joseon-style architecture, folk traditions, valuable books, and the old tradition of clan-based villages.

Hahoe Folk Village is located in Andong. The village is organized around the geomantic guidelines of pungsu and so the village has the shape of a lotus flower or two interlocking comma shapes. The Byeongsanseowon Confucian Academy is also part of the core zone.

Yangdong Folk Village lies in Gangdong-myeon, 16km northeast of Gyeongju. The village has over 160 tile-roofed and thatched-roof homes built throughout the dense forest. Fifty-four historic homes over 200 years old have also been preserved. Included are three clusters: Yangdong Village, Oksanseowon Confucian Academy and Dongnakdang House, Donggangseowon Confucian Academy.


Visit September 2001

On my trip to South Korea in 2001, a trip that lasted only 2 weeks, I visited the country's all 8 WHS. And a number of other nice places - the distances within South Korea aren't that far, and it's an easy and rewarding place to travel in. Two of these sites now have become a WHS in 2010: Hahoe Folk Village and Yangdong Folk Village.

The bus ride to the Hahoe from Andong takes only 35 minutes. The very well preserved village "Hahoe" appeared still in deep rest when I approached. At the town's entrance is a ticket gate, otherwise it is an ordinary village. The weather was wonderful, the town smelled just how a rural site should (after manure). A wonderful quiet place. Almost all of the thatched roof houses here are still occupied, so it's not possible to look inside them.

Hahoe is especially known for its mask dances. From the village it's a 2 kilometer walk to the Mask Museum. About 200 Korean masks are exhibited: a glimpse into the folk history of this often so westernized country.

I also visited Yangdong. This village is located near Gyeongju. I was the only passenger in the local bus, and the driver dropped me at a crossing from where I had to walk another 1.5 km. However a car stopped after a few minutes and gave me a lift - that happened so often in Korea!

There was no entrance fee to be paid in Yangdong: it was just a peaceful and very quiet village. Also less accessible than Hahoe, without a map or a guide. So I just walked around for an hour or so before returning to the bus stop.

At the time I surely wasn't aware visiting possible WHS, but I always do have a soft spot for these "folk villages". So I'm happy that I see them rewarded WHS status in 2010!

Community Reviews

Thibault Magnien - April 2012

Yangdong and Hahoe Folk Villages are traditional and historic Korean villages mostly occupied since the Joseon Dynasty. For now, I have only visited the Yangdong village, located 16 kilometers of the historic city of Gyeongju. Korean aristocracy was living here under the Joseon Dynasty. The village comprises several Korean National Treasures.

Although some part of the village are unoccupied nowadays most of the folk homes are still used. Fifty-four historic homes are more than 200 years old. Mostly located on the side of a hill and on the bottom, this village is a fine example of Joseon Dynasty architecture and traditions.

To get to this village, take one of the several different buses going from Gyeongju bus terminal to Yangdong village in almost one hour.

Ian Cade - November 2011

I must admit when I first arrived at Yangdong I was distinctly unimpressed. Bus 203 dropped me off in a rather muddy car park and I was left looking through the drizzle at some tour groups walking around a cluster of wooden houses on a small hill.

I walked around these houses for a couple of minutes and wondered if this was all there was to see. Fortunately a friendly local gave me a map of the village and I realised it was actually much larger, so off I trotted over the hill to investigate further. I enjoyed looking into some of the houses that were open and visiting the ‘Folk Treasures’ Seobaekdang was my favourite. All in all it was a pleasant place to stroll around and relax but there was not a huge amount to do.

This was the second "folk village" I have visited from the World Heritage list and I was left with a similar feeling that I had after calling into Holasovice, it is nice that there are some representations of low key rural life on the list (even if this particular village was more for the rural elite) however they are not the most impressive places to visit.

I visited Yangdong on a morning sojourn from Gyongju and it was a nice trip. There is now a direct bus that runs up there from the city centre every 90 minutes. It seems that the village is transforming into more of a tourist destination and at times can feel a little too restored.

I doubt I would have made a trip here if it wasn't for its place on the list, but it did let me see something of traditional life in rural Korea.

[Site 3: Experience 3]

Frederik Dawson - October 2011

During my short trip to South Korea, I have a chance to revisit Gyeongju and its two UNESCO protected sites, Bulguksa Temple and Gyeongju Tumuli Park; however my true highlight was a visit to Yangdong, a small village outside the city of Gyeongju, together with Hohoe became the third world heritage site of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, one of the cultural hotspot of this country. By a nice direct bus no. 203 from the Sin-Gyeongju Train Station or the central bus terminal, I was in Yangdong within 40 minutes. The first thing I saw was the large parking zone, with five tourist buses, clearly Yangdong was already being on tourist itinerary.

The village itself is beautiful with many lovely thatched roof houses, paddy rice fields, lotus ponds and blooming flower, one of the prettiest places in Korea. Strolling around the village is a thing to do, as the village has unique characteristic as the tiled roof house of the ruling class will be on the top of the hill, while the lower class thatched roof houses are built on the ground below; however most of the houses are still occupied by local people, few are opened for sightseers, but I loved these things, the village is still a living place, not a fake traditional villages which Korea has a lot and also Yangdong does not have ticket for entrance yet.

I don’t know what will happen with Yangdong in the near future, the site has potential to become a new tourist trap with many traditional houses turned to be souvenir shops and restaurants or café similar with traditional villages in China and Japan. The development of the fragile place is truly depending on locals’ decision. But at least in 2011, Yangdong is a lovely place to visit and a good World Heritage Site of South Korea.

Kyle Magnuson - June 2011

I visited Hahoe village in June. Hahoe is probably the best preserved Joseon dynasty village in Korea. I really enjoyed my visit here. I had just recently visited Oeam and Naganueopseong village, which are on Korea's tentative list. So it was useful contextually for me to analyze each village on its own merits. They are actually fairly different, and each provide a unique view into the traditional village life during the Joseon dynasty.

Hahoe is set in a beautiful location, nearly surrounded by the Nakdong river, while rice paddies surround the back of the village. Like many of Korea's WHS this site may not "wow" you, but it is a beautiful place with important historical value. Joseon's Confucian Aristocrats (Yangban) & the Royal Family did not seek to make enormous grand structures, instead they sought greater harmony with man and nature. In addition, one can view Joseon architecture through the lens of Confucianism which places a strong emphasis on elegant simplicity. This is evident in Hahoe, Jongmyo, Changdeokgung, and the Royal Tombs.

Hahoe Village (3)

Preferably, arriving to Hahoe early or in the evening on a weekday would be ideal. Based on reports of very busy weekends, to experience the serenity of the village and not a bus load of fellow tourists, a bit of research may be fruitful. Some buses from Andong do stop at the nearby Byeongsan Seowon (part of this WHS) for a short time, but time restraints and infequent transportation made this too difficult during my visit.

Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.

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Site Info

Full name: Historic Villages of Korea: Hahoe and Yangdong

Site History


The site has 5 locations.

  • Hahoe Cluster: Byeongsanseowon Confucian Academy
  • Hahoe Cluster: Hahoe Village
  • Yangdong Cluster: Donggangseowon Confucian Academy
  • Yangdong Cluster: Yangdong Village
  • Yangdong Cluster:Oksanseowon Confucian Academy, Dongnakdang House


The site has 20 connections.


  • Feng Shui "The two villages faithfully follow pungsu principle (traditional siting principle, feng shui in Chinese), in village construction. One sits along a river and one at the foot of mountains, thus demonstrating best examples of desirable clan village locations." - Nomination File
  • Mud / Earth Architecture Most of lower class houses in Yangdong are mud wall house
  • Timber framing "The villages were located to provide both physical and spiritual nourishment from their surrounding landscapes. They include the residences of the head families, together with substantial timber framed houses of other clan members." - AB Document
  • Vernacular architecture 
  • Wooden architecture 


  • Cultural sites connected to Cliffs Hahoe and Yangdong "Gyeomamjeongsa Study Hall was built in 1567 by Ryu Ul-lyong. Set on the western end of the Buyongdae Cliff it is framed by pine forest, and has picturesque views out over the Hwacheon Stream to the hills beyond." "Wonjijeongsa Study Hall was built in 1576 by Ryu Seong-ryong on the edge of the river for his own study and for teaching. It consists of a study hall and an elevated square pavilion, from which there are views out across the river to the pine forests of Buyongdae Cliff and beyond to Mount Wonjisan."
  • Libraries Included in the nominated property are three Confucian academies Byeongsanseowon, Oksanseowon, and Donggangseowon. "Seowon, or a Confucian academy was a private educational institution set up exclusively for a man who had achieved outstanding learning and virtue. Its twin roles of enshrining a specific sage and educating students were reflected in its components: shrine, jeonsacheong, a building for the preparation of memorial rites, lecture hall, students' quarters (jaesa), library (jangpangak), and an elevated pavilion (nugak) where Confucian scholars held gatherings or took rests." - Advisory Body Evaluation


Human Activity

  • Festivals Andong Mask Dance Festival (Held annually in the Fall)
  • Irrigation and drainage "The nominated area includes fields bordering the river between the village and the lower slopes of the mountain. They are primarily irrigated rice paddies." - AB Document
  • Literature Hahoe Village: Criterion (iv): The villages, and particularly the ensemble of yangban and commoners' houses, and their overall and individual planning, reflect the precepts of this Dynasty in terms of its social structures and cultural traditions as well as its power and influence and its literary, and philosophical traditions.
  • Masks Hahoe Byeolsingut Tallori (Masked-dance Drama of Hahoe Village, Important Intangible Cultural Property No. 69)- Nomination File
  • Protective engineering works against flooding "In Yangdong Village, the houses at the foot of the mountain are not seriously exposed to flood disaster, but the farm lands at the center of the village were likely to be inundated if Allakcheon Stream flooded. Consequently in 1994, the 300m-long and 5m-high dike between Allakcheon Stream and the village was constructed and its drainage system was built to protect the village from any kind of flood disaster." - Nomination File

Religion and Belief

  • Confucianism the Confucian Academies
  • Legends and Folk Myths Held as a divine tree in the center of the village. The spirit shrine is called Samsindang. Residents of the town believe the 600-year-old zelkova tree aids fertility and good luck


  • Built in the 14th century Hahoe and Yangdong in their landscape settings are seen as the two most representative historic, clan villages in Korea. They were founded in the 14th-15th century and subsequently expanded to their present size and composition in the late 18th and 19th centuries


  • Poetic Quotations 16 Beautiful Sceneries along the River by Ryu Won-ji written in the early 17th century.(Part eight) "The People Walking on the Lane along the Cliff. Outside the village there is a lane along the cliff. I see several passers-by. I do not know where they are heading. I often see them coming and going. Against the drizzle, they wear straw rain capes. In the sunset, they carry firewood on their backs. The trail is too dangerous for them to rest their shoulders. The river has mysterious depth. A few people ask to be ferried across. Sitting quietly, I compare busyness with leisure. Doing nothing will be comfortable." -

WHS Hotspots

WHS on Other Lists

  • Memory of the World Confucian Woodblock Prints (2015): The Confucian Academies in Korea, particularly in North Gyeongsang province played a huge role in the publication, storage, and gathering of . Inscribed within the Historic Villages of Korea WHS - Byeongsanseowon Confucian Academy - Oksanseowon Confucian Academy - Donggangseowon Confucian Academy The current collection is now housed in Andong, it used to be largely stored in the Confucian Academies themselves.

World Heritage Process

  • On T List for a different nomination Byeongsanseowon and Oksanseowon Confucian Academies were inscribed in 2010 as serial components and are also part of the seperate nomination Seowon, Confucian Academies of Korea.