Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan is located on a hillside in Saha-gu, that was first settled in the early 1900’s by followers of the Taegeukdo religion. Over the years, the village continued to deteriorate until 2010 when the community was brought back to life as an arts and culture village, with several abandoned homes being converted into exhibition spaces, art shops and cultural facilities.
Maps are sold at the entrance for 2000 won, that allow you to get a sense of where you are going as you move along the narrow, uneven streets, but also act as a scavenger hunt as you locate various buildings within the village, collecting stamps at each. If you manage to collect all the stamps, you’ve not only seen most of the village, you’re also rewarded with a souvenir postcard! We opted to take this challenge to make the most of our exploration of this beautiful, old village. The first few were easy to find, but as the rain came down harder, climbing up and down the maze of stairs looking for stamps became a bit more challenging.
Through the centre of the village runs a twisty, uneven staircase, known as the ‘Stairs to see Stars’ and while the stairs do take you up to the top of the hill closer to the stars above, the name comes from the fact that people used to feel dizzy and see stars in their eyes as they climbed up the 148 steps carrying heavy loads!
Artists here, have truly brought this old village back to life . The brightly coloured city is full of paintings and unique artwork around every corner. This ‘Santorini-of-the-East’ is definitely a must-see on your trip to Busan.
How to get there– Take subway line 1 to Toseong Station. Come out Exit 6. You’ll come out facing an intersection. Turn right at the corner and walk straight. There will be a hospital on your right and the mini bus stop is right out front. Take Bus 2 or 2-2. Gamcheon Culture Village is at the top of the hill.