Jeju's original city center is bustling with energy again. Once the main street of Jeju, a series of urban development and expansion elsewhere had led to its decline. However, this area seems to be regaining the sparks these days.
▲ Jeju Mokgwana
What's enticing the younger generation is the infusion of culture and art to Jeju's history and sensibility. Cozy cafes are popping up one by one in the quiet alleys of the old downtown, attracting the youth.
The center of the original city center is Gwandeokjeong Pavilion and Jejumok-Gwana Government Office. It is the center of Jeju history from premodern periods to the present, a witness to the 1901 Sinchuk Uprising and April 3 Incident, the tragedy of modern history. Everything in the original city center is within a 20-minute walk from these two institutions.
If you enter an alley in a residential area across the street, there is Hyangsadang, which served as a hyangcheong during the Joseon period and became Sinseong Women's School in late Joseon. At the end of the Sanjicheon Stream, there is Kim Man-deok Memorial Hall, commemorating the hero who saved the people of Joseon from hunger.
When cultural and art spaces started nestling over the traces of Jeju's history, cultural performers and artists gathered. Leading the cultural and artistic trends in the original city are Art Space IAa near Hyangsadang that remodeled the old Jeju Medical Center building and Sanjicheon Gallery close to Sanjicheon Stream.
▲ Sanjicheon Gallery
Until February, IAa's exhibition "Thoughts we live by" and Sanjicheon Gallery's "Remove the Cover" hosted tour programs with a curator every Saturday in January and every Sunday in February.
After cultural artists, Generation MZ came to visit the original city center. Wherever they go, new spaces full of culture and sensibility that accommodate their preference are popping up. They have music and books in galleries that renovated old buildings and sensible shops that capture the eyes of travelers.
Opposite the Sanjicheon Gallery, the second branch of Paper Magazine Club that specializes in magazines opened. Various types of magazines are available, ranging from literature to film, music, space, and philosophy. You can buy dainty accessories or drink beer and wine at Ogakjib nearby. The place has a piano, guitar, and drums, and you're free to play them or sing.
Kkeutitapdong, located on Seobudu's fancy hoe restaurant street, remodeled an old shipyard building. The first floor is home to Busan's local brand Bar à Vin Mmll, and the second and third floors are available for eating food or exhibiting artwork. At Goyo Lounge and Bookstay, a complex cultural space that represents "a day of quiet and relaxed stroll" near the old city center's Jungang Cathedral, guests can enjoy a variety of cultural and artistic programs.
▲ D&Department Jeju
In Tap-dong, lifestyle brands such as D&Department Jeju by Arario and Freitag Store are popular among young people. Recently, Kolon Sports' interactive store Sotsot Rebirth also opened in a building constructed in the 1970s.
▲ Sotsot Rebirth
Together with travelers, locals who continue to live amid the traces of history are creating a new wind of change in the original downtown Jeju.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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