Paju, South Korea —
There are numerous observatories at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea, Odusan Unification Observatory (오두산 통일전망대) is one of them. It has opened its doors to the public for nearly 25 years. The observatory has about 2-kilometer distance from the grounds of North Korea.
Danny and I brought my family there after we sent off one of my sisters to the airport. It wasn’t my first time to see the divided zone. Although the tension between the 2 countries has been decreased when we visited, I still felt uneasy for unknown reasons.
Godang Cho Man-sik (born in Gangseo, South Pyeongan Province, in what is now North Korea) is remembered primarily for the work he did in two phases of his life: the struggle against Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) and the battle against Korea’s division and for freedom from Soviet-backed Communist rule (1945-50).
Then, we went inside the 5-storey building, they have a photograph exhibition about the reunion of families separated by the 2 nations. It tore me apart inside looking at those emotional photographs. It gave me both happy and sad feelings. Happy because they were given opportunities to meet with their relatives and sad because they can never be together in one home.
Moving on, another part of the building displayed items from North Korea such as cosmetics, wines, cigarettes, stamps, money, etc. They also sell some products made by North Koreans.
We went to the top floor of the building where guests can sit back, relax and watch a short movie related to North Korea at their mini-theater. The balcony offers an amazing, panoramic view of the city and a much clearer glimpse of the northern peninsula. From there, Hanhwa’s 63 building in Seoul should be visible according to some. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see it. That day was slightly hazy.
Through the free usage of binoculars, we saw 3 North Koreans wearing all black walking on the fields. There were few not-so-tall buildings as well, but they all looked abandoned. There were no children or even animals in sight. I should say, the place seemed lifeless.
Wrapping up this post, all I can say is that I pray to God that one day, the divided nation will be peacefully united again.
Address: 367, Pilseung-ro, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do
Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays
- November – February: 09:00-16:30
- March – October: 09:00-17:00
- Adults – ₩3,000
- Students & Soldiers – ₩1,600
- Kindergarten & Elderly – ₩1,000
How To Go There: From Seoul Station, take Gyeongui Line and get off at Geumchon Station (departs every 10 min). It’s about an hour ride. Then, take bus# 900.
SPREAD THE LOVE graphic is not mine. Credit to the rightful owner.