Jeonju’s Millenium Worth of History

Jeonju, the capital of North Jeolla Prefecture, is a popular weekend getaway for families, couples and singles, old and young, as it is comfortably located about 3 hours from both Seoul and Busan by bus. Most famed for its long history and wide-spread village of traditional Korean houses, the city is also known for outstanding paper crafts and the local variation of 비빔밥.

Even though the name “Jeonju” does not ring a bell in the heads of travelers and expats, it is far more popular than one would expect: Upon arriving in the city on a sunny Saturday with cherry blossom in full bloom, one would wonder how masses of people found their way to a city this little known. This being said, it is highly recommended to have lunch as early as possible to avoid the queues forming around noon.


Apart from 비빔밥, rice topped with vegetables and – if desired – raw meat (육회), visitors to Jeonju may also enjoy 콩나물국밥, a hot-pot dish with rice in soybean sprout soup (콩나물국). Since Jeonju is a city fully holding onto old traditions, some restaurants serve quite unorthodox side dishes, such as maggots and other kinds of insects, so you may want to pay closer attention to the dinner though.jeonju2

After exploring the culinary highlights of Jeonju, it is time to head for the Hanok Village with over 700 traditional Korean houses spread on an areal that takes a full day to explore. Even though a large numbers of these houses are now home to galleries, tea cafes and shops selling traditional paper fans, many Hanoks are actually inhabited or have been turned into guest houses. Therefore, Jeonju is also a great location to rest a night at a traditional Korean home like people did hundreds of years ago.

Those who would like to indulge in the history of Jeonju and the Korean peninsula should make a visit at Gyeonggijeon Shrine and it’s museum, which holds the portrait of King Tae-jo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty. Other points of interest are the old Pungnammun Gate, the beautiful Jeondong Catholic Cathedral and the little wall painting village.jeonju4


Overall, Jeonju is a small city with surprisingly many sights, delicious food and beautiful art, the perfect place for a nice long stroll on a sunny day, enjoying delicious ice cream and letting yourself be drawn into the fascinating world of traditional Korea – as long as ignore the hordes of other visitors around you. Good luck!

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