Seouk-man Yang / Republic of Korea
Inwangsan Mountain, spanning across Seoul’s Jongno-gu and Seodaemun-gu neighborhoods, is one of the four major mountains surrounding Hanyang (currently Seoul), the capital of the Joseon Dynasty. This beautiful mountain frequently appeared in Jingyeong Sansuhwa (True-view Landscape Paintings) by Gyeomjae Jeongseon (1676–1759), a renowned painter of the Joseon era. This could be why the Inwangsan section of the Hanyangdoseong (Seoul Fortress Wall) trails is especially popular. If you start the Inwangsan trail from Changuimun Gate, not far away on the foothills of the mountains, you will see the elegantly stacked roof tiles of a hanok (traditional Korean house). This quaint hanok is the Cheongun Literature Library.
The Cheongun Literature Library is a public library designed in consideration of Inwangsan Mountain’s sloping terrain and natural surroundings. The library is comprised of one underground floor and one above ground floor. A hanok with a large yard sits atop a concrete underground space. Because it was built on a hill without harming the natural landscape, the southern part of the underground area is exposed to the outside getting plenty of sunlight through the windows. This exposed wall was finished with dark clay bricks to harmonize with the hanok above.
The hanok serves as a reading room in where you can read books rented at the underground library. The daecheongmaru (wood-floored main hall), numaru (lofted floor) and toenmaru (wood floored veranda) are open for guests to sit and read while enjoying the view of the hanok itself, and the surrounding Inwangsan Mountain and highrise buildings.
Next to the main building is a small pond with a cozy pavilion. Visitors can relax with a book or two while surrounded by the sound of water trickling, the birds singing, and warm sunlight. You can also close your eyes and imagine how Confucian scholars would have enjoyed pungnyu (appreciation for art).
TIP : The nearby Buam-dong area is popular for cultural and art facilities, such as the Yun Dong-ju Literary Museum, and Seoul Museum, and the cozy café street.
Location : 40 Jahamun-ro 36-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Telephone : 070-4680-4032~3
How to go : Taxi (5mins) from Exit 3 of Gyeongbokgung Station, Subway Line 3
Operating hours : Hanok Reading Room 10:00–19:00; General Reading Room 10:00–22:00 (Closed on Mondays, Jan 1, and Seollal & Chuseok holidays)
Admission Fees : Free
Yun Dong-ju Literary Museum
Buam-dong Café Street