Jeongnang and Olle

Jeju’s traditional houses are surrounded by olle, which is a type of stone outer wall or fence, unique to the island. ‘Gates known as jeongnang ‘ are placed at the entrance of each olle. A jeongnang consists of its three logs placed across the entrance of the olles and held at each side by jeongjumok, or stone pillars. Jeongnang are regarded to have been originally to keep horses and cows, which the people of Jeju traditionally raised from coming into the house compound. Because of the strong winds on the island, logs were used instead of gates. Jeongnang are not affected by the wind so would not be broken even during typhoons. The three logs were also a means of exchanging information between the owner of the house and potential guests. If all three logs were in place, it meant nobody was home. If two logs were in use, the owner was going be out for a long time, but when only one log was used, the owner was expected back shortly.

jeongnang olleh

Jeongnang and Dol hareubang

The length of each house’s olle varied and they could be short or long. There were also many different type of olle and they could be straight or curved, and wider or narrower at the end. Traditional homes always had olle though. As Jeju’s frequent and strong winds were gentled when they passed through the piled stone walls. The houses were not easily seen from the street due to the olle and their role was to both prevent strong winds and curious eyes from reaching the house. Jeongnang and olle are found only in Jeju and are a residential view unique not only in Korea, but throughout the world.

jeongnang olle

Olle Path

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