As you may know, there are three well known promenades in Korea: Gyeongridan-gil in Seoul, Hwangridan-gil in Gyeongju, and Unridan-gil in Cheongju. Today we are going to focus on the latter. Unridan is a promenade connecting the Cheongju Museum of Ancient Printing to the Community Service Center via Heungdeok Elementary School. It is a cultural street where you may find a variety of workshops that have been preserved for a long time and cute shops with a modern feeling. Recently, young merchants have gathered to create various attractions, and therefore it has emerged as a popular place on social media. CBT reporters made a tour of this place.
Leather hand crafting experience-Daily craft
Unridan-gil owe its revival to young entrepreneurs who slowly came to this place one by one. They prefer setting up shop here because it has many attractions and the rent is cheaper than anywhere else. Various artists have opened workshops here and created a street of culture. Actually these shops are the biggest reason why this place has been called Unridan-gil which is the combination of Uncheon (the area’s name) and Kyeongridan-gil (A street located in Seoul which is famous for its unique atmosphere.). Daily Craft, one of these numerous workshops, is a leather crafting facility. As the exterior represents the workshop’s image, it projects an antique atmosphere with its beige theme, and inside there are various leather crafts on display such as wallets, bags and key rings. This workshop offers one-day classes where you can make simple leather crafts like a card wallet, a key ring or even an Airpod case, as well as regular classes for anyone who wants to learn more.
CBT reporters booked a one-day class and made a key ring and a passport case. You need to indicate your color preference when booking. The class begins with choosing the color of the thread that you will be using. Most of the class consists of sewing because all the materials are conveniently prepared by the leathersmith, so there is no need to be worried about the process. He explained that he does this because it is a one-day class for those who have no knowledge in this field. The sewing takes about one and half hours. Afterwards, the only things left are finishing off the ends of the leather with natural materials and choosing the initials that you want to stamp onto it. It was a great time made easy by the detailed instructions and guidance of the leathersmith, and the joy of creating a handmade product on my own. The workshop only offers this class in small groups because of COVID-19 so it would be a nice refresher in an otherwise repetitive life.
Various shops: comfort coffee-café, 11 points-prop shop, summer library-bookstore
Walking along the street, different workshops, cafés, prop stores and restaurants catch your eye. Comfort Coffee, an early settler of this street is famous for its delicious deserts. They sell different seasonal deserts such as pistachio strawberry tarts, blueberry tarts and lemon tarts and they also provide a comfortable and cozy atmosphere as promised in its name.
The prop shop, 11Points is another one of the most loved places in Unridan-gil. According to the owner he wanted to make a small stationery museum with a bunch of nice things like premium pencils, matches and postcards with beautiful drawings. The bookstore with a warm sense and antique interior, Summer Library, is not so huge but has many books in a huddle. These including independent publications and many private collections on walls and pretty postcards are sold on the side.
Cheongju Early Printing Museum showing printing culture and its history in the Middle Ages.
At the entrance of Unridan-gil, there is Cheongju Early Printing Museum which is quite fitting for Cheongju. There is also the Heungdeoksa Temple Site where Jikji was founded so you can look around this place too. On the first and second floor, documents of Korea metal types focusing on Jikji is on display. You can also learn about the overall Korean traditional printing culture as well as that of the Eastern and Western civilizations. Besides the museum and the temple, there is a training center for metal work where you can learn about the making of different kinds of metal. However, if you’re worried about COVID-19 infection, there are other options to experience those virtually by simply scanning an AR marker by your smartphone.
One of the owners of a café at Unridan-gil in the renovated building said “Since these buildings are old, we the owners have been trying to add cultural contents. This difference makes many people come again.” As he said, Unridan-gil is a place which was barely alive but it became a lively place where many people visit. Now it’s your turn to enjoy the benefits of visiting this beautiful street.