The folk street in Kaesong is located at the foot of Mt Janam in Pugan-dong of Kaesong City.
Lining the street are traditional dwelling houses with antique-looking Korean roofing tiles and eaves. They bring into bolder relief the historical scenery of Kaesong which was the capital of Koryo (918-1392).
In general, a house is comprised of a living room, an opposite room, a detached room and several other floor-heated rooms, a wooden-floored lounge, a kitchen, a storehouse for keeping kitchen utensils, and a gateway. According to its scale, it is possible to increase the number of rooms and has sheds for keeping farm implements and other household goods and stables.
In those days, aristocrats and bureaucrats and other wealthy classes divided rooms in their houses separately for man and woman, the old and the young, owner and servant, according to the Confucian ideas.
A pond and flower bed were made in the courtyard so as to create a beautiful garden with trees of ornamental value.
The house in the folk street had such features that its main building was arranged comparatively better than the detached building and that the interior and exterior of ㅁ-shaped house were separated completely so that no one could look into it from outside.
This was related to the fact that the locals had an aversion to reveal their housekeeping to others.
What was conspicuous in the house in the folk street was the decoration of soy-jar terrace, which was said to be a yardstick for appraising the family’s tradition.
A two to three-tiered stone terrace was built inside the fence by the kitchen, and large jars were arranged at the back, small ones in the middle and smaller ones at the front, in the order of their sizes and colours. Such customs are being carried forward still today.
At present, thousands of residents are living in hundreds of houses in the folk street.
There is a folk hotel for tourists to Kaesong, where they can personally see the architectural styles of traditional houses and experience the living customs of the Korean people.
The folk street in Kaesong has been designated as a conservation object of the country according to the State policy on the conservation of national heritage since 1957.
The street is one of typical old city street examples forming a large house architectural group in a vast area. It is also a “living historical site” where Koreans have lived for over 1 100 years from the period of Koryo and which is to be handed down through generations.
Herein lies its cultural value as a precious folk traditional heritage of the Korean nation.
Ri Jin Gyong, researcher at the section for study of world heritage of the Korea National Heritage Preservation Agency