After a mild case of COVID, the trials and tribulations of raising a puppy, my wife and I were finally able to get out and explore. We met up with Jon and Coetzer, meeting at Dongincheon Station, and walked to our first destination, an abandoned and unused highway tunnel. According to the sign in front of the tunnel, workers completed the tunnel on May 12, 2003. Yet I heard from Jon that the funds to complete it dried up, and it’s been in this state ever since.
At the end of the tunnel was a covered roadway, and since we had the run of the place, we let Harrow off the leash and played fetch with him. This moment marked the first time he understood the game of fetch. I felt like a proud dog dad, watching him grow up in front of our eyes.
Next, we headed to our final destination, a neighborhood on the verge of being demolished. Here are some things that caught my attention along the way.
It was a bright, gorgeous day for exploring. The temperatures were reaching summer level highs. The walk from the tunnel to the neighborhood took about fifteen minutes but felt longer when guiding a puppy along the way, trying to meet his needs.
I’m proud to say that Harrow is a natural urban explorer. I will confidently say he’s Korea’s only urban exploring Jindo (Trademark), and on this day, he completed the urbex trifecta; rooftopping, tunneling, and abandonments. Excellent work, Harrow!
We made it to the neighborhood at a perfect time to explore. Workers are in the beginning stages of constructing scaffolding for the tarp blinders. Scrappers and demolition workers have pried open most of the doors, making it an easy go of exploring. We only covered a small amount of ground; there is still so much to see, and at this moment, it’s a perfect time to explore. Here are some pictures of the houses we saw; single floor, humble abodes built when South Korea quickly moved away from its agricultural roots and transformed into an industrial society. I hope to get back here as soon as possible.
Look at this cultural relic; a video rental store, complete with Memories of Murder poster. I wonder how long ago people abandoned this store. Perhaps, it turned into a DVD store after VHS became obsolete; and now that streaming services put the nail in the coffin of this neighborhood fixture.
The highlight of the exploration was this abandoned Cheondogyo church. Cheondogyo is a 20th-century religion that mixes Shamanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism elements. With this synthesis of Eastern thought, it’s easy to see that Cheondogyo is rooted in the Donghak (“Eastern Learning”)movement of the 19th century, which rejected Western values and ideas. Harrow got on the rooftop of this building, even braving the steep staircase on his own.
Our next destination was an old Christian church on top of the hill. I knew nothing about it at the time, but people were still there using the space. I assumed it was parishioners holding out to the very end until the hired goons kicked them out. The church left long ago, and volunteers took over the building, turning it into a dog sanctuary for abandoned neighborhood dogs. We tried to bring Harrow into the space, but then dogs started coming out of the woodwork; I think the volunteers might have thought we were dropping off Harrow for them! I didn’t want to deal with that mess, so I brought Harrow out around the corner, and we chilled while my wife tried to explore Jon’s intention of writing about the place and giving their sanctuary publicity. Jon and Coetzer went inside and took a tour of the site. According to Jon, the scene was “heartbreaking,” and “loud” as hundreds of barking dogs greeted them. My wife and I waited outside and enjoyed the sun, taking it easy and spending quality time with Harrow. He had walked a lot of steps today. It was a nice respite from the urbex tour.
Here are some Harrow photos to close this post out.