Sightsee all Korea, in just two decadesA 74-year-old retired civil servant has finally finished publishing a 12-volume travelogue titled “Places of Interest and Cultural Relics in Korea.” Kim In-deok said he trekked across mountains and rivers as if he were Yi Jung-hwan, who wrote the travel guide “Taekrigi” during the Joseon Dynasty.
Mr. Kim began research for the series in 1984, when he retired. He started by exploring some areas and researching cultural artifacts he had read about in his 800-volume collection of books on Korean history, and decided to write his experiences and emotions in his own books.
In the years that followed, Mr. Kim drove to places he had read about, made copious notes and took thousands of photographs. He traveled from the southern coastline, where he found relics of the Joseon Dynasty admiral Yi Sun-shin, to the DMZ, where he visited the tomb of the Silla king Gyeongsun. His travels were so extensive that he had to buy new cars three times.
“The cultural relics, these traces of our ancestors, are scattered around the country, and the entire nation is like an outdoor exhibition,” Mr. Kim said.
He began writing his first volume in 1994 and finished it in 1997. “I published one or two volumes a year. This year I completed the 20-year adventure, with the last volume on Seoul,” Mr. Kim said.
The series has listed 3,000 places of interests and cultural sites, as well as 20 national parks, 20 provincial parks, rivers and beaches.
“I worked on it in the hope that our descendants will love our cultural assets, passed down from earlier generations,” Mr. Kim said. He is now collecting material on cultural relics in North Korea, in case someday he might be able to publish a travel series on the north as well.
by Kim Guan-jong