Only few years ago as “mural villages” started to become well known travel spots many mural villages began to sprout throughout the whole country. Many people became accustomed to taking trips to these villages as a photo destination because their colorful outer walls and charming paintings reminded them of Venice, Italy.
However, now that their popularity has cooled, these mural villages are now considered by many as a quaint vestige. Nevertheless, mural villages have not lost all their charm. Rather, they become even more of a photographer attraction as there are no longer huge crowds.
If you are planning to visit somewhere to take nice photos, please pay remember Ugakro Culture Village. It isn’t just a destination where you can find colorful murals, but more a meaningful mural village where you can also see residents’ lives on display as well. If you’re touring Incheon, make sure to take many photos at Ugakro Culture Village.
Ugakro Culture Village, a quiet and peaceful place with a retro sensibility
A trip to Ugakro Culture Village starts at Dowon Station on subway line 1. It is also the station where the home stadium of Incheon United is located. On game day, the station will be full of supporters and their energy. But, on the other side of the stadium, far from the fans’ attention, is a whole other would. These days the character of Ugakro Culture Village connects with your retro sensibilities as a quiet, peaceful place where you can get away.
Ugakro Village, reborn in culture
In 2012 during the mural village boom, there were discussions about redevelopment of the village. But the villagers resisted, and plans were delayed. Eventually the residents who were guarding the area began to leave the village one by one and the village started to deteriorate with more and more empty houses and vacant lots. It was then that remaining residents and local artists started to cooperate. Each house was reborn with colorful paint schemes and many became workshops, woodshops, and guest houses ran by young artists and Ugakro village found new life as Ugakro Culture Village, where art and culture have blossomed in an aging neighborhood.
Now that Ugakro Culture Village has reinvented itself, the village has revived. It was introduced to the media several times and soon became a popular place to visit in Incheon. But again, fortunes reversed and now sadly all of the workshops have left save only five or six artists which remain in the area. It has become such a quiet place that no one is visiting, even during the weekend. Is that why when you look at the old and faded murals, it gives strange feelings that the murals contain the village’s sorrows.
Once you enter the village, you face a steep hill. Under the sun, with 40 degrees of slope, your forehead starts to sweat, but your camera cannot take a break because of the pretty paints and scenes around you. In this place the nameplates of the houses become art and the weeds become a stark contrast.
It is also a unique experience in that you can see scenery harkening back to the 70s and 80s, which is not easy to find in Seoul anymore. Old broken signs are more images attesting the shabbiness and disorder. And with the mural paintings filling the gap, it is an interesting pleasure to cross the past and present of Ugakro and to see its history writ manifest on its walls.
A place reminiscent of residents and artists
The alleys, so tiny that an adult can barely walk through them, are connected like a web. These alleys are full of paint and childrens’ poems that you may able to find in old school books. Once these alleys were as energetic as the murals and it is a little disappointing that you can only see that vitality through what remains now. Perhaps you can imagine for a while your own childhood, running around familiar locations and get in touch with a somewhat different sentiment?
You can see many places where workshops used to exist and when you walk through Ugakro Culture Village, you can find the solemn building in the picture, “Jagirang”, which was once a ceramic shop. It used to be a place full of people who want to experience pottery making, but now, you can only imagine how it once was since it sits empty and locked. The artist who used live here decorated the exterior wall of the house with broken ceramic pieces and Lego. Other buildings likewise, used their exterior walls as a canvas and the artists filled them with their own unique character. It would be nice to have such memories, recorded with your camera and with your eyes, of abandoned walls displaying artists’ souls.
In the middle of the day, when you walk through Ugakro Culture Village, you will have undoubtedly a moment that you tire of heat and need a place to sit down. At that moment, a shelter can appear in the form of a three-dimensional wooden model, with a bench that stands next to it. You may even see the residents and artists’ kind considerations on display, as those rest areas are located throughout the villages so that you can always find solace in Ugakro Culture Village.
Address: 19, Ugak-ro 122beon-gil, Michuhol-gu, Incheon, Republic of Korea (https://goo.gl/maps/RhuCtzwqMZR2)
Time travel to Ugakro Culture Village
The place where the 70s, 80s and the present coexist. Why don't we go on a trip and take some nice photos of the Tourism Ugakro Culture Villgae? You can compose yourself and enjoy the memories of a quiet and still place without the crowds.
Photos: Editor’s own, etc.