Moments in the Scenic Site Gwanghalluwon Garden

Commissioner of the Cultural Heritage Committee, Director of the Korean Regional Cultural Ecology Institute

“And soon a moment became eternity.”

This final line concludes the TV series , recounting the tale of King Jeongjo(Yi San, 1752-1800),
the 22nd king of the Joseon Dynasty, and the noble consort Uibin Seong(Seong Deok-Im, 1753-1786). Beyond the historical characters, viewers were captivated by the resplendent hanbok, props, and the scenic backdrop of Gwanghalluwon Garden. The popularity of the show and its webtoon adaptation propelled Gwanghalluwon Garden into an exhibition at the 2022 Korean Cultural Center in New York, extending its influence even further.

Broadening Its Significance as a Drama Shooting Location

Situated in Namwon city in North Jeolla Province, Gwanghalluwon Garden is a traditional Korean garden of national heritage significance, famed as the backdrop for the classical love story Chunhyangjeon. It has gained prominence as a sought-after Hallyu tourist spot, renowned for its role as a filming location for popular K-drama series like , and among others. The allure of the garden as a royal filming site can be attributed to its pavilions and lake views that are reminiscent of the splendor found in palace gardens.

The Quintessence of Traditional Korean Garden Aesthetics

Illustrator WOOH Nayoung

Originally known as Gwangtongnu in during the Joseon Dynasty(1419), Gwanghallu translates to ‘Moon Pavilion’. It features a milky way-like lake with lotus flowers and a pavilion illustrating ‘The Woodcutter and the Heavenly Maiden’ tale. Within the lake, three islands mirror the Sinseon(Taoist hermit)’s mountainous dwellings. The garden evokes the ambiance of the Sinseon realm and the moon, offering a serene space to savor nature’s beauty.

Exhibition at the Korean Cultural Center in New York

Enchanting Wonders of K-Heritage

The Joseon scholars who visited Gwanghalluwon Garden and other scenic sites shaped a vibrant culture of sightseeing, leaving behind a multitude of traces. Today, not only Koreans but also K-drama and K-pop enthusiasts from around the world are immersing themselves in these locations, creating memories reminiscent of the dramas’ protagonists. Notably, the growing trend of donning a hanbok and engaging in diverse experiences showcases a profound fascination with K-heritage. Embracing K-heritage during your time in Korea creates a truly a unique journey, making it an even more unforgettable and enriching adventure.