The Colonial Williamsburg of South Korea, Andong is a town in which the traditional style of life of old Korea lives on in the present. Yangban, the noble class of ROK, walk down the streets dressed in hanbok, the traditional Korean garb. Old Korean grandfathers with wispy white beards and black hats stroll the town with stately elegance. The gentle green hills and charming houses with doors made out of thick paper and wood have charcoal-color tile roofs which curve upward toward the sky and serve as gracious vestiges of the past.
Unlike other traditional towns such as Colonial Williamsburg, the residents of Andong really live in the town. There is no feigning or make-believe here. The inhabitants keep tradition alive and live in houses with walls made of mud instead of cement, have outhouses instead of modern plumbing, and use time-honored methods for everyday tasks like cooking.
Although bits of modern life, such as refrigerators and the occasional TV antenna, have crept in, the scholarly houses of Andong are beautifully authentic and have been standing for over 300 years. The oldest house is said to be over 550 years old. The government goes to great lengths to keep old Korea alive. They limit the construction of modern buildings and also provide funding for restoration and repair.
In 1999, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Andong for her 73 rd birthday. The mementos and keepsakes from this historic visit sit proudly in a small museum built to honor her visit.