Munjeong Station (문정역) Line 8 – Station #818

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We’ve been to a lot of parks, yeah?  And let’s be honest, a lot of them blend together a little bit.  A few benches, a pavilion or two, some playground and exercise equipment, basketball hoops, maybe a fountain and bam, you got your standard issue Seoul neighborhood park.  Munjeong Park (문정공원), just outside of Exit 2, has all those things, of course, but it’s also totally different from every other park I’ve been to in Seoul, thanks to its unusual dimensions.  About 20 meters wide and two kilometers long, it follows Munjeong-ro (문정로) from the station nearly all the way to Geoyeo Intersection (거여사거리) near Geoyeo Station. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The top of the park had a small fountain (off for the winter), which was followed by a stretch that was composed of just a walking path, some benches, and some trees – not very exciting, but a decent enough place for a cigarette if you work in one of the nearby businesses, perhaps the Bentley service center a block down on the right.  Following the park as it stretched east and northeast, I passed some straw-roofed shelters doing their best to look rustic (check), some exercise equipment (check), and a second fountain centered on some silver metal arcs (double check).  A number of local residents were out walking their dogs, mostly off-leash, and a couple of the pets were getting to know each other on a little stretch of fake ‘lawn’.  The requisite playground equipment was here too, but Munjeong’s had the added feature of a giant bucket at the top that appeared as if, in the summer, it would be filled with water from a bright yellow pipe until it would tip over, sending water splashing over the kids playing below.  Super. Fun. The park’s makeup had the unusual result of necessitating park-goers to occasionally cross a road to get from one part of the park to another.  Usually these were small residential streets, but at a couple spots you have to sit around and wait for the light to change at a large intersection.  Then, about two-thirds of the way through, the park is unceremoniously interrupted by a weed-strewn parking lot before resuming again on the other side. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Near the city limits, the neighborhood around Munjeong is predictably residential, with lots of apartment complexes and signs along the sidewalk notifying people that they’re in a school zone, so please be careful.  It’s generally quiet, but every once in a while a large gray military plane will pass by low overhead, on its way to or from the nearby Seoul Airport. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Among the residential surroundings, Munjeong also features a significant retail destination: Munjeong Rodeo Street (문정동 로데오거리), reachable by going out Exit 1 and then turning right onto Dongnam-ro (동남로).  Its entrance marked by a stone tower topped with a cowboy straddling a bucking bronco, Munjeong Rodeo Street, like other Rodeos throughout the city, features a large collection of name-brand clothing stores generally selling things at reduced prices.  The street, unsurprisingly, was pretty quiet on a Wednesday afternoon, but if shopping’s your thing, there’s plenty here.  For fashion: UNIQLO, True Religion Jeans, Calvin Klein, Dickies, Codes Combine. For sportswear and outdoor goods: Nike, Adidas, Puma, Black Yak, K2, the North Face.  Deung, deung, deung as the locals say. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA More shops branch off on Dongnam-ro-4-gil (동날로4길), which was crisscrossed by banners advertising stores and sales.  The shops here were mostly second-tier places like Crocodile and STCO, though the music they play tends to be better, or at least the shop selling Abercrombie & Fitch was having a moment, Haim’s ‘The Wire’ swinging out of its speakers.  Tchka-ow! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne street east, on Dongnam-ro-6-gil (동남로6길), a bit of history interrupts all the commerce, where, after a small block, I came to the large Memorial Stone for the Origin of Munjeong Village (문정마을 유래비).  Here’s the story.  It’s 1636.  The Manchu War is raging and King Injo, fearing for his life, flees the royal palace for Namhansang Fortress.  En route he stops at Yeonheedong, so named because the village is said to look like a lotus, and drinks of its well water.  He says it tastes good and that from now one the village should be known as Munjeong because many people with the name Mun live there and the Chinese character ‘jeong’ refers to a well.  See how easy it is when you’re a king?  You drink some good water and say something and – bam – it just happens. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Munjeong was part of Gyeonggi-do until 1963 and retained the appearance of a village until the 1980s when city planning projects transformed its appearance. One thing that hasn’t changed, well, two things actually, are the twin zelkova trees (느티나무) on either side of the alley running past the memorial stone.  Designated protected trees in 1968, both are 15 meters tall and 5.3 meters around.  Estimated to be 530 years old, they’ve held a special place in the village for nearly as long, serving as a meeting and resting spot and providing shade underneath their sprawling branches and wide canopy of leaves.  This importance is reflected today in an ancestral rite called the Goyuje, which, according to the on-site plaque, is performed here annually by members of the Munjeong Local Committee on the 15th day of the lunar year to pray for the village’s stability. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA All of this is on the east side of the station.  Across Songpa-dae-ro (송파대로) to the west there’s nothing.  Just an endless metal fence along the sidewalk with pictures of sparkling housing developments.  Behind it is land marked the ‘Munjeong City Development Zone’ (문정도시개발구역) on Naver Maps.  It’s been like that for a long time, since well before we visited Jangji Station three years ago, but like Jangji’s still half-dead Garden Five development there’s no evident progress being made.  No cranes poked up above the fence. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Munjeong Park (문정공원) Exit 2 Munjeong Rodeo Street (문정동 로데오거리) Exit 1 Right on Dongnam-ro (동남로) Memorial Stone for the Origin of Munjeong Village (문정마을 유래비) and zelkova trees (느티나무) Exit 1 Right on Dongnam-ro (동남로), Right on Dongnam-ro-6-gil (동남로6길) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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2 thoughts on “Munjeong Station (문정역) Line 8 – Station #818

  1. Pingback: SEOUL Weekly: Shadows of the Void | SEOUL Magazine

  2. Pingback: Garak Market Station (가락시장역) Line 3 – Station #350, Line 8 – Station #817 | Seoul Sub→urban

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