Traditionally a center for the yangban (aristocrat) class, Andong and the surrounding area have retained much of Korea's old culture. When the Andong Dam was built in 1976, 111 mi/180 km southeast of Seoul, the resulting lake would have destroyed many cultural relics. Luckily, most were relocated to the Andong Folk Village (Hahoe Maeul) and Folk Museum, both located near the foot of the dam. Some of the houses have been converted to restaurants serving traditional food—definitely worth a stop.
Located north of Andong, Dosan Seowon was one of the country's most famous Confucian institutes. West of the town you will find the Hahoe Maeul, a living folk village with more than 100 traditional buildings. If you want to rough it and see how Koreans used to live, you can even arrange a homestay with one of the villagers there (best to have someone in the Korean Tourism Organization make arrangements for you in Korean, however). A popular Mask Dance Festival is held there each autumn, a combination of dance, drama, satire and traditional shamanistic rituals.
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