Photo: Baekje Cultural Land
What would a love look like between a woman from the 21st century and a man from the early first century? If you’re curious, tune in to the recent historical TV Drama, “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.” The drama tells the destined love story of a 21st century woman, Ko Ha-jin (played by IU, also playing Hae Soo of the Goryeo Dynasty) who is transported to the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), where she meets and falls in love with the fourth crown prince, Wang So (played by Lee Joon-gi).
In particular, the royal palaces of the Goryeo period featured in the drama are receiving plenty of attention from the viewers, both local and overseas. When visiting Korea, be sure you don’t miss out on these great tourist attractions and filming locations from “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo!”
Photo: Cheonjuho Lake
In the first episode of “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” Ko Ha-jin falls into the water, thereby entering a time slip to appear in the Goryeo Dynasty. This scene, with its fantastic background of waters and cliffs was filmed at Cheonjuho Lake at Pocheon Art Valley.
The razor-straight cliffs and emerald waters of the lake at Pocheon Art Valley were created by the granite quarry located here in the past. The area was converted into a tourist attraction in the 1990s. Cheonjuho Lake was created by spring waters and rain runoff filling up the hole created when the rock was quarried out. The deepest point of the lake is a mere 20 meters. In addition to Cheonjuho Lake, Pocheon Art Valley facilities include Pocheon Astronomical Science Museum, outdoor theater, walking paths, a sculpture park and more. Pocheon Art Valley is located atop a mountain with the walking paths traversing steep slopes, but using the monorail makes traveling around the site easy for all visitors.
Photo: Herb Healing Center (top) / Herbs and flowers found throughout the park (bottom)
Herb Island is a must-visit attraction when traveling to Pocheon. This attraction, decorated like a village from a storybook, has enough to see, try, and eat to fill an entire day with excitement and fun.
Visitors can find a variety of experiences using herbs at the romantic European-style building of Herb Healing Center. The bakery, café, and restaurants located in the park all use herbs in their products. Buy some hearty herb bread or a hot cup of herbal tea to really enjoy all the park has to offer.
Photo: Statues at Santa Village (left) / Character zone (right)
Herb Museum is an indoor greenhouse growing and displaying over 340 varieties of herbs. Visitors can not only view the herbs but also purchase plants to take home. Another fun aspect of Herb Island is the plethora of character statues and cute sculptures located everywhere you turn. Christmas-lovers will be thrilled when visiting the year-round Santa Village, where evergreen trees, candy canes, holly, and Santa recreate the excitement of Christmas every day at Herb Island.
Photo: Drama filming set at Ondal Tourist Park
Ondol Tourist Park is a complex of a variety of tourist facilities and attractions, drawing in many visitors. The filming set, one of the more popular attractions, has recreations of China’s Imperial Palace, the houses of noblemen and commoners, and a traditional shopping district of the past. The filming set has been used in many historical dramas, from “Yeon Gaesomun (2009)” and “The Legend (2007)” to “Faith (2012)”, “The Flower in Prison (2016)” and more. Visitors can freely tour the set, as well as see the costumes and props used for the actual filming. Ondal Tourist Park’s filming set is used for the palace of the Goryeo princes in “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.”
Photo: Ondal Cave
Ondal Cave is a limestone cave estimated to have formed over 400 million years ago. The cave features both stalagmites and stalactites among other cave formations. Approximately 760 meters in length, the cave is on the small side but the cave’s high and low points create an exciting feeling when exploring their vast differences. The cave is a great attraction year-round, with a stable temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius. Safety helmets are provided at the entrance and must be worn at all times inside the cave for a safe and enjoyable experience.
Photo: Panorama of Baekje Cultural Land
The main filming site of “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” Baekje Cultural Land is a recreation of a Baekje palace from the Three Kingdoms Period. The tourist complex is home to a recreation of the great Sabigung Palace; Baekje’s representative temple, Neungsa Temple; Living Culture Village, showing a variety of housing styles across social classes; Wiryeseong Fortress, the nation’s first capital building; and ancient royal tombs which show the culture of funerals and burials.
Photo: Five-story Wooden Pagoda (left) / Living Culture Village (right)
When visiting Baekje Cultural Land, the first thing to catch the eye is the large, five-story wooden pagoda of Neungsa Temple. Shooting straight up to a height of 38 meters, this wooden structure is visible from a great distance. It is also famous for being Korea’s first recreated wooden pagoda from the Baekje Period.
Tile-roofed houses and thatched-roof houses gather together in peaceful harmony at the Living Culture Village. Visitors can see the lifestyle and customs of the Baekje people here. The houses, ranging from the highest of noblemen to various artisans and down into the lowest class of laborers, are elaborately decorated for an exciting look into the past.
Photo: Baekhwajeong Pavilion atop Nakhwaam Rock (left) / Baengmagang River & ferry (right)
Busosan Mountain is more of a hill than a mountain, only reaching 100 meters above sea level. Despite its low elevation, the mountain once served as the capital city and palace of the Baekje Dynasty, and is now known as Busosanseong Fortress. When entering from the main gate of Busosanmun Gate, the walking path winds through a dense forest before reaching the cliffs of Nakhwaam Rock, over 40 meters above the waters of Baengmagang River. Nakhwaam Rock gets its name from the story of Baekje court ladies jumping off the cliffs to their death in order to keep their fidelity as the joined forces of Silla and China’s Tang Dynasty overthrew the Baekje kingdom.
Below Nakhwaam Rock, at the foot of the cliff is Goransa Temple, estimated to have been built during the Baekje Dynasty. Visitors who want to get a better look at the cliffs and river can take the Goransa Ferry and enjoy a tour of Baengmagang River.
Photo: Gwanbuk-ri Relics
Located just south of Busosanseong Fortress is Gwanbuk-ri Relics, believed to be the remains of the royal palace from the Baekje period. Remains of historic roads, water drainage systems, ponds and more have been uncovered here. Gwanbuk-ri Relics and Busosanseong Fortress were included in the Baekje Historic Areas, designated a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2015.
Photo: 100 Year Tower
A common resting place for Daegu citizens, the 100 Year Dalseong Roots Plaza is easily noticed from afar by the unique sculpture shooting up into the sky. Also seen in “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,” this grand landmark of the park is 100 Year Tower. The art piece was commissioned and installed to commemorate the 100 year-anniversary of Daegu’s Dalseong-gun. 100 Year Tower is the centerpiece of a vast lake-side park, a favorite spot for locals to relax, couples to go on dates, and families to enjoy the outdoors.
All that remains of the clan village created in the early 18th century by Nampyeong Moon are nine traditional houses and two pavilions built in the post-Joseon era style. The pavilion before the entrance to Subongjeongsa, the main building of the compound, was most often used to greet guests when they arrived, or as a gathering place for the family. “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” is just one of many dramas that have filmed scenes at Nampyeong Moon Clan’s Original Residence Area, thanks to the beautiful landscape formed by the traditional hanok buildings and the stone-wall paths between them.
Photo: E-World 83 Tower (left) / View of Daegu at night as seen from 83 Tower’s observation deck (right)
Daegu’s landmark E-World 83 Tower showcases the beauty of traditional Korean architecture, having been designed as an octagon with the motif of Silla Dynasty’s Dabotap Tower. The observation deck and sky lounge atop the tower are especially popular at night, for the outstanding view they offer of the entire city of Daegu. In addition to just taking in the view, all observatory ticket purchases include a free photo card printed with the image of the ticket-holder before the beautiful city of Daegu; don’t forget to get this special and unique souvenir of your trip.
Photo: Sky Garden at night
After descending from the observation deck, be sure to stop by the romantic Sky Garden. At night, instead of flowers, the garden is decorated with a variety of beautifully lit sculptures, including heart lanterns, diamond rings and more, making the garden a popular place among people in love.
Photo: March 1 Movement Road
In comparison with other regions, the city of Daegu did not suffer as much destruction during the Korean War. Because of this, the entire city is a great relic of the lifestyle of that time. Daegu Modern History Street is a great way to see this part of Korea’s past, taking place somewhere between traditional living and modern times.
Photo: House of Missionary Chamness (left) / Gyesan Catholic Church (right)
Modern History Street is a rather short course, only stretching about 1.64km, but with so many things to see, it will take about 2 hours to finish. Of the countless attractions, the most popular are Dongsan Cheongna Hill, House of Missionary Chamness, House of Missionary Blair, March 1 Movement Road, Gyesan Catholic Church, House of Yi Sang-hwa, House of Seo Sang-don, Modern History Experience Hall Gyesanyega and Daegu Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine. In particular, the beautiful architecture of House of Missionary Chamness has been featured in a multitude of dramas, from being the house of Kiruma Shunji (played by Park Ki-woong) in “Bridal Mask (2012)” to being Yoona’s place of hospitalization in “Love Rain (2012).”
Photo: House of Seo Sang-don (left) / Stamps are in place at each attraction (right)
The best way to make use of the Modern History Street is to take part in the stamp tour. The tour guide map can be picked up for free from any of the tourist information centers along the street. There are a variety of ways to walk along the Modern History Street, but Course 2 connects the most popular attractions. Be sure to get the stamp from each attraction to fill up your guide map for a great keepsake of your time spent in Daegu.
* This column was last updated in September 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.