Surrounding the city of Cheongju, Cheongwon is a sprawling district in the South Korean province of North Chungcheong. It has been inhabited since the Stone Age and is dotted with temples dating from different periods of Korean history. During the 16th-century Battle of Cheongju, Japanese soldiers fought Korean warrior monks representing the ruling Joseon kingdom.
Things to do in Cheongwon
In the centre of Cheongju is the Early Printing Museum, which preserves the ancient Buddhist text of “Jikji”. Containing influential Buddhist sayings, it was originally printed during the 14th-century Goryeo Dynasty and is the world’s oldest existing book featuring movable type. Also on display are hundreds of documents and artefacts related to printing in Korea throughout the centuries.
The country’s long-established history of manufacturing silk is showcased at the Korea Silk Museum, which is set across four exhibition halls on the outskirts of Cheongju. It features displays dedicated to the region’s agricultural history and the art of silk farming and encompasses a “Silk House” where visitors can get hands-on.
Offering magnificent views across Cheongwon is the Sangdang Sanseong Fortress, a stone-built complex on the slopes of Uam-san mountain. Marvel at its four-metre-high walls before stepping through one of the gates to explore the small village inside. You can coincide your visit with a stop at the Cheongju National Museum, which occupies an impressive building designed by the celebrated Korean architect, Kim Swoo Geun.
Getting around Cheongwon
Cheongwon is around an hour by train from Seoul and two hours from Incheon International Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect to the Cheongju railway station and buses travel throughout the district, connecting most of its attractions.