Hanok refers to houses built in the traditional Korean style. While tile-roofed and thatch-roofed hanoks were equally common, the former are typically be noblemen residences while the latter were mostly houses of the commoners’ in the past. These days, most people who are still living in such traditional tile-roofed hanok have modern facilities installed within.
There are two main charms to hanoks. The first is the unique heating system of 'ondol.' A layer of stone is laid down above the flooring and when heated, the heat spreads up into every room throughout the house, keeping both the floor and the air surprisingly warm in winter.
The use of ondol has influenced the Korean culture today as many Koreans continue to live the lifestyle of sleeping or sitting on the floor instead of lying on beds and sofas. This is also mostly due to the Korean custom for people to take off their shoes when entering a Korean home.
The second attractive point to hanok houses is that they are environmentally-friendly. The materials needed to build a hanok house are free from chemicals, making it a good healthy environment. The columns, rafters, doors, windows, and floor are wooden, while the walls are a mixture of straw and dirt. The paper to cover the frames of doors and windows were made from tree pulp. As the building materials used are all natural, hanok houses have excellent breathability, perfect for escaping the summer heat. It is also said to help in the treatment of atopic dermatitis and other modern skin diseases.
Experience the traditional culture for yourself through the many hanok villages in Korea, including Jeonju Hanok Village, Andong Hahoe Folk Village, Bukchon Hanok Village, Namsangol Hanok Village and Naganeupseong Folk Village.
This page was last updated on September 1, 2016, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here.