Ganggyeong is an area that interactively shows us its history through its streets. As you tour around, you will feel like if you were walking through a timeline of past events, in the present time. Since they preserve some of their most important old structures intact. Which blend perfectly with the new buildings and houses that were constructed. Showing the small development that this ‘rural’ town has gone through.
Among these, there is a building that we can say that it is going to be the starting point of your adventure. Which is the Auditorium of Jungang Elementary School. As it is right in front of the bus stop that you need to reach. From there, you will come across one or another historical site.
Without further ado, let us introduce you the importance of this place!
The First Modern Educational Institution of Nonsan
This school was in fact the first modern educational institution established in Nonsan. Which opened on April 2, 1905. And it went through lots of changes before that. Since first it was a private school, under the name of ‘Bomyeong’. But then, it became a four-year Public School on April 7, 1907. And like this, it kept changing until finally becoming in what it is now: Ganggyeong Jungang Elementary School. House of the beautiful auditorium that we are about to introduce you.
An Auditorium to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary
In order to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Ganggyeong Jungang Elementary School, this auditorium was constructed in 1937. Just at the right of the school’s main building. And it has the typical appearance of an auditorium ㅡ among educational facilities ㅡ in the modern era of Korea. That is why it has a high historical value. No wonder it was denominated as the Cultural Property No. 60 on June 25, 2003.
In front of the auditorium there is also a monument done by the commemorative association. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ganggyeong Jungang Elementary School. With the phrase ‘Let’s be eternal! With our yearning desire.’ Bringing nostalgia to those who have seen the growth of Ganggyeong.
A Piece of Past in the Present
The reason to why we say it is a piece of the past in the present, is because as we mentioned before, it has the typical appearance of auditoriums in the modern era. As it is a structure of red bricks on a concrete base. And the surface finish of the roof, is done with a dense fine-grained material. Which creates a beautiful contrast of colors! Making it stand out not only due to the tones, but also because of its divisions. If we cut the building in half and mirror that piece, we can tell that it is actually symmetric. Even so, it does not give the sense of monotony. And I believe it is due to the louver segments that are around the building. Wrapping it as a belt. That for sure gives a 3D aspect to this two-story structure.
The building area is 462㎡. And back then, it used to be a gymnasium. With two entrances on the front and rear. Honestly, who would not want to take gym classes here? It does not only looks neat and pleasing, but also has tons of vertical windows that let the natural light in. Each of these well arranged. On top of all, the ceiling is high. Giving deepness to this place. So as making it look bigger than it actually is.
Is it Open for Tourists?
Unfortunately, when I went it was closed. But I am not sure if it is because they do not allow visitors anymore. Or if it is due to the fact that it was Sunday when I came. So I was unable to appreciate these details in person. However, I did found some pictures on internet that show us how traditional it looks on the inside. I definitely love that they always put the Korean flag in their educational facilities. Shows how proud they are of their nation. And who would not? If this country had a great development over the years.
In case that you want to visit, I recommend you to go on weekend. So you can ask directly wether you can enter or not. But no matter what the answer is, you definitely should get near to at least see it from the outside.
The Start of an Historic Adventure
As we mentioned before, this is the starting point of Ganggyeong’s historical streets. That is why I recommend you take a look before you wander around. So you can complete the full course!
Address: 155 Jungang-ri, Ganggyeong-eup, Nonsan-si, Chungcheongnam-do Website
From Nonsan Station, you can take bus no. 101. And wait for 19 stops. To then get off at ‘중앙초등학교’. You will be in front of this school!
I can assure you that every old building of this area is worth to see. Including this school. Even though it feels kind of illegal to just enter a school, let us not forget that it is actually open to the public. But in case that you feel insecure, you can just ask the guard at the entrance.
Have you been to the Auditorium of Jungang Elementary School? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Click here to see my writer’s profile and other travel articles about Korea!