Thursday, September 15, 2011

Daegu’s Side Streets and Alleys - Part 1

If you truly would like to experience a city, its side streets and alleys are the place to explore. Seemingly left unchanged throughout time, it is the perfect opportunity to see the past and present of a city.

Many people do not know that the center of downtown Daegu is referred to as “Daegu-eupsung” meaning the “Daegu Castle Area.” This downtown area has seen a lot of history and it shows in its alleys.

During the Joseon Dynasty the city was origionally walled off to protect the citizens from intruders. This wall stood until the Japanese Colonial Occupation. During the occupation the walls of the castle were destroyed twice, and were eventually completely demolished by Japan without the consent of South Korea Government. After the demolition four large roads were built on the site. The names of these roads are the only reminder that downtown Daegu was once a fortified castle. These roads radiate in the four cardinal directions and were named accordingly Donsung-ro (East Castle Road) , Seosng-ro (West Castle Road), Namsung-ro (South Castle Road) and Buksung-ro (North Castle Road).”

1. Dongsan Hospital and Medical Missionary Museum

The first Western style hospital in the Daegu/Gyeonbuk Province area was Keimyoung University’s, Dongsan Hospital. Dongsan Hospital was founded in 1899 by by Dr. Woodbridge O. Johnson as a small local dispensary called the “Salvation House.”  The dispensary was originally housed in a grass roofed cottage near the ‘Jaeil Church’ in the Daegu Yangnyeongsi. This facility was used primarily as a pain treatment centre for local citizens. It was in 1903 that hospital was moved to its current location with the help of Dr. Archibald Fletcher where they were able to successfully expand the hospitals reputation and capabilities.

During your visit to the hospital you will also find the Medical & Missionary Museum which showcases the history of the missionaries and the hospital over the past100 years.

Converted Missionary House Museum
This house was once the residence of the missionaries who established Dongsan Medical Center. This beautiful house mixes the traditions of the Korean Hanok (traditional house) and a western influenced garden. This facility had been used as the residence of the Chief of Medicine until 1997, at which time it was converted into a museum.

The Origional Wall and Bell

In the museum’s complex you will find an aged wall and bell. This was an original section of Hospital’s fence. Most of this fence had been destroyed during the “Break down the walls” campaign promoted by Daegu City’s Jung-gu Office.

Dr. Johnson's apple tree

Near the front of the fence you will find a lone apple tree. This tree was one of 72 that Dr. Johnson brought from his hometown in Missouri and planted in the autumn of 1899. All but one of the saplings died, the lone survivor is still standing strong and has been designated as the “First Nurse Tree.”

The Missionaries’ Cemetery

The Museum’s Landscape
2. Gyesan Cathedral

The Museum’s Landscape

Established over 100 years ago as the first Catholic Church in Daegu, Gyesan Cathedral was first constructed in the traditional Korean-style in 1900. The beautiful building only stood for one year, as the church was destroyed in a fire in 1901. Upset by the sudden loss, Father Robert along with Seo Sang-don, Kim Jong-hak and Jeong Gyu-ok began reconstructing the church with stronger materials, mainly red and black bricks, in 1902. The cathedral was miraculously completed in just one year, being the first Gothic-style Cathedral in the Yeongnam Region and the third in Korea following Seoul and Pyongyang.

3. Old house of Lee Sang-Hwa

The ‘Old House of Lee Sang Hwa’

AdInside the Old House

Lee Sang-Hwa was one of Korea’s most respected nationalist poets. Lee is best known for his unrelenting resistance against Japanese Colonialism during the Japanese Occupation of Korea in the early 1900s. As a poet he created one of the most influential works of Korean art in his nationalistic poem “Does Spring Come to the Stolen Field?”

The Old House Site of Seo Sang don

After leaving Lee Sang Hwa’s Old House, you will find the site of Seo Sang-Don’s house across the street. Seo Sang-Don is known throughout Korea for leading the National Dept Redemption Movement which started in Daegu. This movement was started to repay debts owed to Japan, which amounted to 13 million won (USD 13,000). On 29 Jan. 1907 Seo Sang-Don and Kim Gwang-Je sparked the repayment drive in Daegu by urging men to give up smoking and women to sell their jewelry. Citizens from all walks of life and social standing heeded the patriotic calls and came together to free Korea.

Daegu’s Official Alley Tour Courses are as follows:

Course 1: Gyeongsang-Gamyeong Park – Hyangchon-Dong - Jongno Elementary School - Samsung Store - Dalseong Park (2km)
Course 2: Missionaries’ House - 3.1 Movement Path - Gyesan Cathedral - Lee Sang-Hwa’s Old House – Jongno – Jin Alley (1.7km)
Course 3: Daewoo Building – Gyodong Market – Yangnyeongsi - Seomun Market (2.4km)
Course 4: Gukchae-Bosang Memorial Park - Samdeok Street - Banchon Market – Bongsan Cultural Street – Gundeulbawi (2.5km)
Course 5: Banwoldang - Sangduksa - St.Paul’s Abbey – Sungmo-Dang (1.5km)

Daegu Jung-gu Downtown Generation and Culture Foundation:

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