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Yakhyeon Cathedral

  • Travel

Time Out says

Jungnim-dong’s former name is Yakgogae, or Yakhyeon-dong. During Joseon Dynasty, the neighborhood was the designated area to grow herbs which were to be used as traditional medicine for the Emperor – thus the name Yakhyeon-dong, which has the Chinese character ‘yak’ which translates to ‘medicine.’ Obviously, the name has been changed, and the neighborhood’s vintage cathedral is the only place that is continuing to honor the former title.

There are 2 reasons the Yakyeon Cathedral is known for. First, the location of the religious building was formerly the home of the woman who first invented the medicinal rice (yakbap) and medicinal snacks (yakgwa). Regarded as one of Joseon’s 3 ‘wise mothers’, she was known for her skill in growing medicinal herbs and cooking. Second, Yakhyeon Cathedral is Korea’s first basilica-style building. Designed by priest Eugene Coste (from Russia), it has gothic qualities both inside and out. The frameworks of the building include an arched roof, which can also been seen in the celebrated Myeongdong Cathedral.

Having been built in 1892, it is over 125 years old, still standing proud on a Jung-gu hilltop (you can’t miss its deep and glorifying red hues while in the area). The beautiful cathedral has been portrayed in a few Korean dramas including Bread, Love and Dreams (2010) and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010), as well as films including A Brand New Life (2009).

Written by
Ahrim Won


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