OWL Magazine Korea

Gangneung, Birthplace of Joseon Scholars: Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park

In Gangneung, you can explore the birthplaces of famous scholars from the Joseon Dynasty. It’s here where you can find the presumed birthplace of Heo Gyun, renowned for writing the first Korean novel “Hong Gildong Jeon,” and his sister Heo Nanseolheon.

“Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park”

Around Gangneung’s Gyeongpo Lake, you can discover the Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park. This park and memorial hall were created around the presumed birthplace of Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon, siblings who lived here in the past.

At the Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park, you can also find a small memorial hall dedicated to them. Inside the traditional Korean house, you can view an exhibition of Heo Gyun’s representative work, “Hong Gildong Jeon.”

“Heo Nanseolheon, One of the Top Three Female Poets of the Joseon Dynasty”

Additionally, you can view relics and writings of Heo Nanseolheon, who is regarded as one of the top three female poets of the Joseon Dynasty.

Heo Nanseolheon was a female poet, painter, writer, and government official in the Joseon Dynasty. Her birth name was Heo Choe-hui, also known as Heo Ok-hye. Her courtesy name was “Nanseolheon,” and her given name was “Gyeongbeon.” She was the daughter of Heo Yeop, the half-sister of Heo Seong, the half-sister and full-blooded sister of Heo Bong, and the older sister of Heo Gyun.

Heo Nanseolheon was the first female poet in Korean history to publish a poetry collection. The collection published by her younger brother, Heo Gyun, was highly acclaimed during and after the Ming Dynasty and also in Japan.

Some of Heo Nanseolheon’s representative works include:

  • “Nanseol Sihan”: A poetry collection published by Heo Gyun in 1597, dedicated to Heo Nanseolheon.
  • “Gyuwon Ga”: A poem expressing her lament for her husband not returning home.
  • “Gokja”: A poem mourning the deaths of Kim Hee-yoon, the eldest son of Kim’s family, and his sister Kim.
  • “Yuseonsa”: A poem by Heo Nanseolheon, which appears in “Yangcheon Heo’s 5 Verses” by Heo Se-gwang, the 32nd-generation leader of the Yangcheon Heo clan in Kangneung, a descendant of Seungjigong, Yangcheon Heo’s clan academy.
  • “Meongyugwangsangsan”: A famous poem in which Heo Nanseolheon foresaw her own death.
  • “Angangi Geumdo”: Landscape paintings drawn by Heo Nanseolheon in her youth.
  • “Mukjodo”: A painting by Heo Nanseolheon.
  • “Jakryakdo”: A painting by Heo Nanseolheon.

“Heo Nanseolheon Statue and Poetry Stele”

In the park, you’ll find a statue of Heo Nanseolheon and a stele with the poetry of five individuals from this area. This park, set amidst a tranquil forest, provides an excellent environment for enjoying the scenery and contemplation.

While visiting Gangneung, take some time to appreciate the works of Joseon scholars. It’s a hidden gem in Gangneung where you can savor leisurely moments.

Note that on the map, it appears to be close to Gyeongpo Lake, suggesting an opportunity to enjoy the lake’s beauty. However, walking from the park to Gyeongpo Lake might be a bit far, so consider it when planning your visit.

“Gangneung, Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Park”

  • Address: 1-29, Nanseolheon-ro 193beon-gil, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do 25466
  • Phone: 033-640-4798
  • Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon Memorial Hall Operating Hours: (Tue-Sun) 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM