Believe it or not, there is more to Korea than just Seoul. Although Seoul seems to be where most of the “action” is happening, there are many great things in other parts of Korea that few people experience because they are unaware of the existence. For example, near the DMZ and just 100 meters from 임진강역 (Imjingang Station) in Gyeonggi-do, there is a beautiful unification park called 평화누리 공원.
임진강역 and 평화누리 공원are near the town of 임진각 which is on the outskirts of the DMZ…actually, it’s only 7km away…and it rests on the banks of the 임진강 (Imjin River) in 파주시 (Paju City). The town was built a couple decades after the Korean War armistice and stands as a symbol of hope that, someday, reunification between the North and South will take place. Since the theme of reunification is so strong in this area, 평화누리 공원 was built in 2005 as part of a Global Peace Festival sponsored by Gyeonggi-do.
평화누리 공원 has a 바람의 언덕, which literally means “hill for wind”, and the 공원 is kind of famous for this particular spot because of the thousands upon thousands of colorful 바람개비 (as pictured above). The 바람의 언덕 is an absolutely fantastic place to take photos, and if you’re interested in capturing the movement of the 바람개비, make sure to use a slow shutter speed when snapping photos.
In Seoul, you cannot find a space that is so wide and open like at 평화누리 공원. This 공원 is a super great place to go for the day to run around, walk, or to just simply hang out under the shade of an 우산 with your family and friends and enjoy the fresh air. If you bring your own refreshments, you can have a picnic-style gathering, so make sure to load up with lots of 김밥 and 맥주!
There’s actually a family of wild ducks that lives near the outdoor stage which amazingly floats on water. At this outdoor stage, high-quality performances are held every Sunday and movies of various genres are shown on the screen every day. These cultural events (and the cute ducks and 바람개비!) bring happiness to the eyes and ears of the onlookers despite being so close to the spot where the pain and suffering of separated families still remains.
평화누리 공원 is about a 2 hour bus ride north of Seoul, and if you’re interested in visiting the 공원, we will do our best to give you directions from where you are in Korea. There are no private cars or 택시 allowed to the park or the town of 임진각 because of its proximity to the DMZ, so it’s best to catch a bus to get to there.
Written by: Stephanie Morris
Photos by: 진석진