South Korea’s annual World Heritage Site festival to open next month

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) — An annual cultural festival showcasing some of South Korea’s UNESCO World Heritage sites will kick off next month for a two-month run in three regions, organizers said Wednesday.

The 2022 World Heritage Festival will be held from September 3 to October 22 in the cities of Andong and Yeongju in North Gyeongsang Province; Suwon in Gyeonggi Province; and the southern resort island of Jeju, the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) said.

The CHA launched the festival three years ago to promote the country’s UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites and help visitors better understand the value of cultural heritage through various events, such as music and dance performances. dance, hands-on experiences and exhibitions, all on the theme of building sites.

The administration has chosen cities or regions to participate in the festival from those that apply every year. The inaugural festival was held at the nine “seowon,” or neo-Confucian academies of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) designated in 2019, three North Gyeongsang provincial cities of Gyeongju, Andong and Yeongju and Jeju, while the he 2021 event was held in four regions – Baekje Historic Areas in Gongju, Buyeo and Iksan cities in South Chungcheong, which preserve the remnants of the ancient Korean kingdom of Baekje, Andong, Suwon and Jeju. About 194,000 people visited the festival last year, organizers said.

The third edition of the festival will kick off in the northern Gyeongsang provincial cities of Andong and Yeongju, an area where Hahoe Village, the seowons of Sosu, Dosan and Byeogsan, and the Buddhist temples of Buseok and Bongjeong are located. The festival will be held from September 3 to 25 under the theme “World Heritage in Transit”.

Next, the festival will travel to Hwaseong Fortress in Suwon, a Joseon-era fortification, from October 1 to 22, and Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes from October 1 to 16. The Jeju Heritage Site includes a shield volcano, about 1.2 million years old and rising to 1,950 meters above sea level at Mount Halla, the highest peak in South Korea. The site covers 18,846 hectares, or more than 10% of Jeju Island.

The two-month festival will offer a wide range of exhibitions, concerts, walking tour programs, forums, hands-on experiences on the theme of the regions’ cultural heritages.

The festival’s opening performance based on a legend about the origin of the Hahoe mask, a traditional mask that smiles perpetually, will be held three times a day from September 2 to 4 at Hahoe Village in Andong, 270 kilometers south- east of Seoul.

At Buseok Temple in Yeongju, Ahn Eun-mi, the representative avant-garde dancer and choreographer of South Korea, will present a modern dance piece on a folk tale about the ancient temple and its historical and cultural value while moving into the temple grounds on Sept. 10 and 11.

“Since Yeongju is my hometown and I’m a big fan of Buseok Temple, I wasted no time in accepting the offer,” the 60-year-old dancer said at a press conference held in a Seoul hotel to promote the festival on Wednesday. “You will feel a three-dimensional side of the temple that you have never seen before, as I will breathe human life into the characteristic of the temple as a place.”

A media art exhibition featuring a modern reinterpretation of the temple will be held at a Buddhist museum located inside the temple during the festival period in the Andong-Yeongju area.

At the seowons of Sosu, Dosan and Byeongsan, there will be programs to experience the daily routines of Confucian scholars, musical plays and traditional Korean performances in the open air. Dosan Seowon, in particular, will be available for night tours during the period from September 3 to 25.

In Jeju, visitors can join a walking tour where they can see traces of lava that erupted from Geomun Oreum around 10,000 years ago. There will also be guided tours of some of the lava tubes on the heritage list, offering a rare chance to experience areas normally off-limits to tourists.

“We will do our best to promote the value of Korea’s world heritage sites recognized by the world through this festival and make it easier for visitors to enjoy them,” CHA Director Choi Eung-chon said during the event. of the press conference. .

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