Seongyojang

It’s about a fifteen minute drive to Seongyojang from my apartment if you have your own vehicle, but takes almost two hours by bus. There are few buses to that part of town, even though it’s a tourist area. Tourists have their own cars, I guess.

It’s probably best it’s inconvenient to get to Seongyojang because the entrance fee is expensive. Lots of public historical sites are free or cheap, but this private residence has to make money with much aid from the government.

I’m sad to say this photo is heavily cropped because I didn’t think of a vertical composition until I got home and saw the photo on my computer. The structure in the middle is a chimney. Korean chimneys come up from ground level because the smoke and hot air goes from the kitchen at one of the house to a chimney at the other end of the house, warming the rooms as it passes under them. Much like a Roman hypocaust.

Here is the other end of the hypocaust system. The fire under this pot is what heats the building. Great in winter, but not so good in summer. Some rooms in a traditional Korean house didn’t have underfloor heating so that you could avoid being boiled at the same time as the supper.

A more modern addition to one of the buildings on this housing estate. The owners of this estate were (are?) extremely rich and connected, so they were probably one of the first in Korea to have electricity. Compare to the owner of the convenience store near my house. He is the same age as me and didn’t have electricity until after he entered primary school.

The lack of straight lines in a traditional Korea home seems to be a point of pride for people who tell me about historical architecture. As a photographer who likes rather formal photos, it sometimes drives me batty.

This window has no glass in it, possibly to let out the heat of cooking in the hot Korean summer. I’m not sure what happens during the cold Korean winter.

The scene is slightly spoiled by the Ladies/Gents sign over the left building.

Self-portrait in well. There’s no bucket or anything to draw water, and I think it’s just being used as a nursery for mosquitoes.

These stairs are the beginning of a path that brings you around the circumference of the estate and offers some nice views. Also, a lot of people seem to miss seeing the stairs so the path is quiet and uncrowded.

I was satisfied with some of the photos I made that day at Seongyojang, so I think I’ll go back again when the weather is suitable. There’s also a nice coffee shop that sells tea and cool drinks. It’s done in a traditional Korean style and was empty when I went in. One of the benefits of going to tourist places on weekday mornings.

2 thoughts on “Seongyojang”

  1. Nice shots – it was certainly worth the trip and thanks for sharing. Two hours on a bus (plus another two back) sounds like quite a chore, though. Do you take candid shots on the bus to pass the time, or would that be just too obvious. (I guess your digi-snappers have a ‘stealth’ mode which might help).

    Interesting about the underfloor heating – as you say, similar to the Roman system. The Roman Baths in Bath, England are a great example – you can get really close and they are quite large in size. During my hospital stays there we used to be able to get a complimentary ticket to the Baths which was great, provided you picked your time. It can get very busy…

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    1. Thanks for the compliment.
      I’ve made a few photos in the buses, but there usually isn’t anything interesting to photograph. My X-T3 (digi-snapper! How dare you! 🙂 ) is pretty quiet, but I feel too shy about making photos of people.
      Did you write curses on lead sheets and throw them into the water when you visited Bath? I can’t remember the name of those now.

      Like

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