Ondol is a heating system unique to the Korean nation that boasts a 5 000-year-long brilliant culture. It conforms to their way of life and their country’s natural and climatic conditions.
The ondol heating system is similar to the Roman hypocaust system in the ancient West. The heat from the fireplace in the kitchen is led hrough flues under the floor, warming the stone slabs covering the flue.Ondol was called kuundol (heated stone) and later it was renamed kudul, or ondol.
Ondol maintains the room temperature and has a wide space. As the source of heating is also used for cooking, it economizes on fuel and is cultural and hygienic. It is beneficial to promoting the health of the people, in particular, the old and the weak; it is also effective for various diseases including lumbago. An ondol-heated room consists of two places; the place nearest to the fireplace is the warmest part and the place farthest away is the coldest. Old people and other elders usually like to sit on the warmest part. It is a revered custom of the Koreans for the guests to be given the seat of honour (the warm place nearest to the fireplace in winter and the cool part of the room in summer). It is considered good manners for young people to decline the seat of honour.
This system was recommended as an option for heating dwellings in the 21st century worldwide, and electric products that are modelled on it are widely developed and introduced. This system is called ondol all around the world like kimchi, a Korean traditional food and a health food of the world.
Foreign tourists who visit the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in midwinter will experience its attraction in Korean-style dwellings including the Kaesong Folk Hotel.