5 Awesomely Awesome Things: Turtle Ships

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Sitting in Tongyeong’s harbor are 4 boats that are pretty hard to miss. Turtle Ships!

Turtle Ships are infamous throughout Korea because they helped fend off the Japanese at the end of the 1500’s with their great design paired with great leadership. They’re called Turtle Ships because their roofs are round and look a bit like the back of a turtle.  In Tongyeong’s harbor sit 4 different interpretations of the Turtle Ships (since there are very few accounts on the design, we don’t know precisely how these ships looked).

We were able to walk through 3 of the 4 ships and I will say, Turtle Ships are awesome.

Here’s why:

1. Dragons-

Dragons are super cool.  Dragon heads on top of a ship that can pour smoke out of its mouth is not only cool, but I imagine awesomely scary to opposing forces back in the 1500′s.

2. Spikes-

This is probably one of my favorite design features in the Turtle Ships.  It’s a great defense to keep your ship from being boarded, and the sailors could also cover the spikes up so they serve as an unseen element of surprise, and pain.

3. Weird Korean Mannequins-

Most museums in Korea seem to have these very lifelike mannequins.  Everywhere from the Busan Museum, to Museums up in Seoul and everywhere in between. They do help tell the story and illustrate what certain things looked like, but they also make it feel like there are other people in a boat with you when there isn’t.

4. Outfits-

I still have not outgrown dress-up, so any activity that allows me to put on a fun outfit I’m a fan of.

5. Admiral Yi-

Admiral Yi maybe last, but certainly not least.  He was a great Naval leader that won battles drastically outnumbered with very few Korean casualties.  It’s no wonder he is so revered for his protection of Korea’s coastline against the Japanese.
6- Bonus reason- it’s Free!

I feel if these ships had been in America there is no way they wouldn’t have charged at least a few dollars to go on the ships, but in Korea you can go in and out and wander however you choose.
Also if you want to learn more about the Turtle Ships my favorite podcast of all time “Stuff You Missed in History Class” did an episode about Admiral Yi and the Turtle Ships about a year ago.  What is cool about that episode, apart from the whole ‘learning’ thing,  it’s the only Korea themed episode they’ve done. I recommend you check it out.

From Busan with Turtle Ship Love,
Jenna


Filed under: adventure, awesome, culture, South Korea, travel

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