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Monday, April 13, 2015

The Road Home: Daegu's Enchanting Kim Kwang-seok Walking Street

Like a musical rose poking its head up through the cement caverns of the city, Daegu's Kim Kwang-seok Road neighborhood intoxicates and surprises its guests. Sprouting between the Kyeungbuk University Hospital and Daegu Bank subway stops on the Green Line, the area is named in memory of one of Korea's most famous musicians, folk-singer, Kim Kwang-seok, a native of Daegu, whose songs are still highly popular with Koreans years after his tragic passing in 1996.

A visitor poses next to a likeness of musician and song writer
Kim Kwang-seok 

The area, approximately 25 or so square blocks, is undergoing an artistic and culinary renaissance in one of Daegu's older neighbor-hoods. Hip coffee shops, restaurants, art studios and other enterprises dot the landscape. Wanderers are rewarded at every turn along quaint side streets by sights, sounds and the smell of fresh food. The road ("kil" in Korean) is nestled between the river and an old Korean market and residential area. They melt seamlessly together to create a walking experience highly pleasing to the senses.

Having fun: interactive "stations" dot the neighborhood

We stumbled upon the neighborhood when friends told us about their new take-out joint, Chiliboy, located along a side street. Their bright red and white stall serves up great sandwiches and chili. We've been going back to the area on a regular basis for art shows and to discover things we may have missed on previous visits.

Pleasant surprises along the walking street

Entrances to the neighborhood use art to remind you of its namesake, Kim Kwang-seok (1964-96), whose guitar and harmonica playing found its way into the hearts of Koreans nationwide. Traversing along the area's main walking street you encounter a number of interactive exhibits that engage and entertain. At the center is a pleasant sun-filled amphitheater for performers. During our visits the sounds of guitar playing and singing could be heard drifting over the walls, filling nearby alleys and sitting areas.

Musician performing at the neighborhood's amphitheater

The smiles of the business vendors and the cheerful displays of art, ceramics and trinkets make strolling there a joyful experience. It's somewhat like a playful oasis in the midst of Daegu's more typical tenor of hustle and bustle.

Kim Kwang-seok Road is a special destination, a pleasant and celebratory reminder of the man and his music.

In memory of the man and his music

Getting there:

The Kim Kwang-seok Road neighborhood is located between the Kyungbook National University
Hospital and Daegu Bank subway stops on the Green Line and is a short walk from either.

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