Academy House in the 1960s.
Hotel Academy House is nestled in the foothills of Bukhansan National Park. From what I could gather it was built by West Germans as a Christian retreat center in the sixties. It was used as a meeting place for pro-democracy activists. It’s not the only building in the neighborhood that symbolizes the people’s struggle for independence. The 4.19 Cemetary is located a short walk down the hill. It memorializes and honors those who lost their lives fighting for freedom on April 19, 1960. Scattered throughout the mountains in Bukhansan are graves of famous Korean patriots who gave their lives to free their country from Japanese occupation. Many citizens come daily to pay their respects and commune with nature. In modern times, some company bought it and turned it into a resort for people who want to enjoy the beauty of Bukhansan National Park. The mountains provide a magical backdrop for a couple’s special day. Financial and legal troubles followed, and currently, the property lies deserted, except for a security dog.
The most impressive building of the resort is this UFO-shaped restaurant. Unfortunately, it was locked up. I spent time admiring it from different angles. It’s very photogenic. It kind of reminds me of the Space Needle in Seattle, except I don’t think it rotates.
Further up, we walk past another guest house. It was more modern and might have been used for seminars as well. A long basketball hoop is being held hostage by overgrown weeds and discarded junk. Past the basketball hoop, is the original building. The photos here are from my second visit. My initial exploration was rushed, as I was rattled by the constant barking of that damn security dog. Most of this visit, it had been pretty quiet, leading me to believe the doggo had been moved to another location. I felt at ease to stroll through the old lodgings. The interior has been pretty much stripped. Not much to see in there. The roof does offer a decent view of the surrounding area. I came across a beer and wine keg, yet neglected to see if there was any left.
In the rear of the hotel, connected by hallway is the banquet/wedding hall. Its architecture was clearly inspired by traditional pavilions. Leaving the hotel, I walked over to the building that housed the dog. Getting closer, the doggo sensed my presence and began barking up a storm. It was my cue to exit and go admire natural scenery around Bukhansan.