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Korean transcription(s)
 • Hangul해방촌
 • Hanja解放村
CountrySouth Korea

Haebangchon (Hangul: 해방촌 Hanja: 解放村; from haebang, "freedom or liberation" + chon, "village"), sometimes abbreviated as HBC, is a district of Yongsan-gu, in Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in central Seoul. It is also known as the neighborhood at the foot of Namsan (남산자락).[1] The neighborhood's close proximity to Itaewon and the Yongsan Garrison US Army facility has made the area popular with expatriates and military staff. In recent years, the area has become a haven for people from a variety of English-speaking nations.[2] The neighborhood is home to Korean residents, as well as Americans, Canadians, Filipinos, Australians, New Zealanders, Britons, Nigerians, Russians and Ecuadorians who have found their home in the "Freedom Village". Many businesses in HBC are foreign-owned and offer a distinct flavor not found elsewhere in Seoul.

Recently, Haebangchon has become the 'new' area in Yongsan to open or establish a new business. It became one of the hot places in Seoul juxtaposed with Itaewon and Gyeonglidan-gil (right across the street from Haebangchon). On the old alleyways up to Namsan, cafes, restaurants, pubs, studios, and bakeries are taking up. It is known for its unique atmosphere of co-existence of past and present, Korean and foreign.[3] The HBC Music festival has been a main component in drawing people and new business to the Haebangchon area.[2]


Haebangchon was originally the site of a shooting field[clarification needed] used by the 20th division of the Japanese military. A government office of the U.S. army took over the area after liberation in 1945. However, its control was limited and the area was settled by refugees from the North and returning citizens (귀환동포). It was the origin of the shanty town (판자촌) and became a magnet for those who returned after liberation but had lost their hometowns.


Haebangchon is a small village in Yongsan-gu, in the center of Seoul, South Korea. It is accessible by public transport: it is close to Noksapyung Station of Line 6 of Seoul Metro. Most of the Yongsan-2-ga postal area and a part of Yongsan-1-ga are included.[2] It is overlooked by the Namsan Mountain and is south of the Namsan Tower.


Haebangchon is a multi-cultural neighborhood in Seoul, aligned with Itaewon and Gyeongnidan-gil. According to 2013 statistics, 1,065 out of 12,648 residents of Yongsan-2-ga are foreign.[2] This can also be seen in and around the Sinheung-Ro area. Studios, art spaces, and food outlet from many cuisines line the main roads, and a few newer shops have appeared in smaller and more residential side streets. There is a convergence between residence and commercial space in HBC; however, the buildings have always had the first floor as either parking or a business space for many years in HBC. In 2018 Minerva Schools at KGI opened a campus in Haebangchon bringing with it around 200 international students to live in the area from September to December.


Art Village[edit]

Recently Yongsan-gu Office and the neighbors finished the Art Village Project. As a result, the old alleys are decorated with murals and artworks.[4]

108 Stairway[edit]

There is a steep hill with 108 stairs, called 108 Heaven stairway (108 하늘계단). It was built during the Japanese Colonial era to allow easy access to the shrine. After independence from Japan, the shrine was demolished but the stairway remained. The stairway was used as a location in the TV series Something Happened in Bali.[5]

Haebangchon Five-way Intersection[edit]

The interaction is just as it was in the old days. There is Sinheung Market (신흥시장). About 25 years ago, the market used to be crowded; however, nowadays, there are only three or four stores left.[5]

Hae Bang Chon Music Festival[edit]

The premiere independent music festival in Seoul, Korea, Hae Bang Chon (HBC) music festival has been running in the Yongsan area since 2006. It was founded by Lance Reegan-Diehl and DEELEEBOB music along with James Gaynor. Musical attractions and people from all parts of Korea and the world assemble for live music performed by both professional and amateur artists, including open mic sessions. The HBC Festival takes place twice a year: the May Music Festival and the Fall Music Festival.[6][7] [8][9]


  1. ^ Lee, Sanghee, ed. "해방촌의 새 얼굴 (New Face of Haebangchon)." Photo. Hyejeong Hwang. Nylon Aug. 2014. Naver Magazine Cast. Naver, Aug. 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. [1].
  2. ^ a b c d Shin, Soyoon. "해방촌, 또 하나의 코즈모폴리스." Hankyoreh21. Hankyoreh21, 18 July 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2015. [2].
  3. ^ "과거, 현재 공존...해방촌 변화의 바람." KTV 국민방송. KTV, 2 July 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. [3].
  4. ^ {{Cite wetle = [서울/용산] 남산 아래 첫동네 해방촌 (해방촌 예술마을, arthill100)|url = http://m.blog.naver.com/kairail/100182554314%7Cwebsite = m.blog.naver.com|accessdate = 2015-10-30}}
  5. ^ a b "서울의 과거이자 미래, 해방촌". 서울매력명소. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  6. ^ "서울 Korea Times". Korea Times. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  7. ^ "서울 HBC Festival Site". HBC Fest. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  8. ^ "서울 Korea Guitar1". Korea Guitar 1. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  9. ^ "서울 Korea Times 2017". Korea Times 2017. Retrieved 2017-05-25.