Have you heard about Somak Village?

Modern Korean history and cultural heritage

Have you heard about Somak Village?
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  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
The world is changing rapidly, but it isn’t true of this place; it’s as if time stood still. Tightly packed, shabby back-to-back houses, and alleys in between through which only one or two adults can manage to pass. This unusual landscape arouses retro-sensibility, but you won’t be soaked in the sentiment when you learn about its history. Let’s take a look at Somak Village in Uam-dong.
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
This was where Japan established a base for plundering Korean cattle during the Japanese colonial rule. They set up cowsheds and quarantine stations in this place, the closest to the eastern part of Busanhang Port, before taking Korean cattle to Japan on a large scale. Korean villagers returning from Japan after the liberation began to live here, and then refugees evacuated during the Korean War flocked here too, living in the cowsheds and stations. This is the background of how Somak Village was formed. However, because of the lack of space for accommodating the growing number of refugees, they built shacks by making party walls even between the cowsheds.
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
You’ll notice the vent of a barn rising from the roof. Despite a sign showing a slate extension to the building, you can see it used to be a wooden cowshed. During the Japanese colonial period, dozens of cowsheds were reported, but only partial traces remain today.
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?2
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?3
The alleys of Somak Village are connected like a maze and are too narrow, barely enough for two adults to pass through. The back-to-back houses no longer have the archetype of the past cowshed, but the old eaves, barns, and even drain covers rising from the floor indicate the painful stories of the exploitation and evacuation. Nevertheless, today’s Somak Village teems with laughter, and even butterflies call it home.
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?2
You can encounter brightly painted pretty murals in the alleys showing the traces of time. Efforts are being fully put into improving the living environment while preserving the appearance of its old days. The colorful murals seem to create warmth in every desolate alley.
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
By contrast, Somak Village is the origin of wheat noodles, one of Busan’s major dishes. A grandmother, who had sold cold buckwheat noodles in Hamheung, was evacuated here and started selling cold buckwheat noodles and wheat noodles together. This was the beginning of Busan milmyeon (wheat noodles). “Since 1919” on the sign tells you that this Golmok Market is where wheat noodles first started being sold.
  • Have you heard about Somak Village?1
Donghang Catholic Church, which features a large statue of Jesus standing on the top of the building with arms outstretched, is also an integral part of Somak Village history. Although this cathedral is well known for its picturesque nightscape of the Busanhangdaegyo Bridge, its long devotion to the villagers is much more impressive. Donghang Catholic Church had served as a haven for the poor in Uam-dong over the past 60 years since the outbreak of the Korean War, when it began as Cheonmak Catholic Church.

When entering the alley of Somak Village in Uam-dong, you may think it’s just cool and friendly. However, when coming out of the alley, you’ll know of the painful history our people endured.

Travel Etiquette

Please look around quietly as this is a residential area.
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  • Address

    40-1, Uambeonyeong-ro, Nam-gu, Busan
  • Hours

    Every day, Always
  • Service Fees

    Free
  • Traffic Information

    Get off Bus 134, 23, 26, 68, 138-1, or 168 at Nambu Jungang KFCC and walk for 3 min
  • Remarks

    Wheelchair accessible in some sections
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