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News: Insadong: a rich history of shopping

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Featured Travel Site: Insadong Master Sgt. Michelle Johnson

A merchant selects a handmade brush-work screen painting to show a customer in one of the galleries in Insadong.

CAMP RED CLOUD, Republic of Korea – Insadong is a neighborhood rich in history, snuggly located in South Korea’s capital city of Seoul. It is known today for its stationery shops, art galleries and antique markets.

While it’s true, you can pass nine stationery stores before you make it to the second city block along the main drag known as Insadong-gil, there are many more treasures along the tributary alleyways.

Hand-made jewelry, delicately-painted oriental fans and one-of-a-kind clothing items line the streets in bins, on the walkways and in store-fronts among the neighborhood’s nearly 31-acres.

As you walk and shop, be sure to taste the locale fares in the dozens of sit-down restaurants along Insadong-gil, or just sample the sweet-bean walnut buns or spun honey string made while you watch.

Insadong wasn’t always a place to shop and dine. The area was once a place of residence for government officials. They were forced out during the Japanese occupation, leaving or selling their antique belongings quickly. This was the beginning of Insadong’s history as a trading center.

After the end of the Korean War, it was a Mecca for the art and cafe culture, and tourists flocked there in the 60s giving it the name, “Mary’s Alley.” It gained even more popularity during the 1988 Seoul Olympics, when international visitors discovered its many boutiques, restaurants and sidewalk snack vendors.

You can get there on the Seoul Metro Subway, Line 1 by exiting at Jonggak Station.


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This work, Insadong: a rich history of shopping, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:08.19.2010

Date Posted:08.18.2010 20:56

Location:41, KR


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