It’s a wonderful time of the year with bright sunshine and a cool breeze. Everything around us is so precious and beautiful that we do not want to miss any of it. Sometimes, staying in the city is boring if you have got any chance to visit Korea. As the weekend comes, you pick up a tour guidebook or a metro map. You might want some help from Korean translators. However, without any help from English to Korean translation services, there are several thing you can enjoy. One of them are houses – you can fully enjoy the beauty of nature while inside. They are traditional houses of Korea – hanok.
Hanok are built in a totally different way from modern buildings made of cement, glass, and rebar. They are made of stone, wood and clay — natural materials. Hanok has also adapted to the climate and customs of Korea over thousands of years. However, as cities expanded and things changed rapidly, hanok were regarded as inconvenient living spaces and disappeared very quickly. Today, Korean people typically live in an apartment. Fortunately, an increasing number of people understand the significance and value of hanok.
A hanok was comprised of several independent buildings. The Anchae (main building) was the space for women, located at the furthest point from the main gate. The building of an anchae is composed of the anbang (main room), andaecheong (main floor), geonneonbang (small room) and a kitchen.
The sarangchae was the space for men, serving as both study and reception room for visitors. It was usually located near the gate. Some rich families had another building called a haengrangchae, which served as a residence for servants and storage for grains and other things.
In modern society, the distinction has disappeared. There is no distinction between spaces for men and women in today’s hanok. Unique features of hanok are ondol for heating and maru for cooling. Ondol is a system that heats up the floor of a room and circulates warm air inside the room. Maru is a floor with open windows in front and back that allow a breeze to pass through. With these two features, a hanok is warm in winter and cool in summer. This arrangement is well-suited to the climate of Korea.
In addition, the arrangement of rooms and maru is well-balanced to allow privacy as well as communication. But the best feature of a hanok is that it embraces nature. As soon as you open the door, you are able to welcome the sunshine and wind into your room. The yard and garden can be enjoyed while you are sitting in your room, too.
Of course, a hanok also has its shortcomings. The bathroom is located far from the main building, and using the kitchen is not convenient. A newly built hanok improves on such shortcomings by applying a modern architectural style. Hanok built a long time ago are being renovated to have bathrooms put into the main buildings and include modern style kitchens.
A hanok is now regarded not as an old and outdated house but as chic and luxurious one. Since the decoration of hanok was considered as important as the utility of a house, hanok hold remarkable artistic value, too.