Thursday, July 15, 2010

Namisom Island of South Korea

Namiseom Island is a tiny half-moon shaped island located in Chuncheon, South Korea, formed as it was inundated by the rising water of the North Han River as the result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam (청평댐) in 1944.

Its name originated from General Nami (남이장군)[1], who died at the age of 28 after being falsely accused of treason during the reign of King Sejo, the seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Although his grave wasn't discovered, there were a pile of stones where his body was supposed to be buried. It was believed that if someone took even one stone from there, it would bring misfortune to their house. A tour company arranged the grave with soil and then developed Namiseom into an amusement park.

Namiseom Island was formed as a result of the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam. It is a half moon shaped (462,809㎡) isle, and on it is the grave of General Nami, who led a great victory against the rebels in the 13th year of the 7th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejo (reign 1455 ~ 1468). Namiseom Island is 63 km away from Seoul in the direction of Chuncheon, and is famous for its beautiful tree lined roads. The island is 30 minutes away from Chuncheon and an hour away from suburbs of Seoul. Since it is not far from Seoul, many couples and families come to visit.

A special feature of Namiseom Island is that there are no telephone poles. This is because all electric wires were built underground to keep the natural feeling of the landscape. The complex is 553,560 square yards with chestnut trees and poplar trees around the isle. In the middle of the isle, there is a grass field about 316,320 square yards. It is composed of education and training facilities, camping sites, swimming pools and water-sports facilities for motorboats and water skiing. There is also a theme park with merry-go-rounds, a shooting range, roller skating rink, and there are lodging facilities such as resort villas and bungalows.

Namisum offers a bike center, an electric car tour and a swimming pool. It takes about 2 hours from Seoul by car. It provides visitors with a direct shuttle bus from Insadong in Jongno, Seoul.

Metasequoia path is a location for a Korean Drama "Winter Sonata (겨울연가)" produced by KBS. The forest path is surrounded by white birches and Korean white pines all year around. This place was used to film two main characters' childhood - Yujin and Joonsang step on each other's shadows after skipping class.

International festivals are held throughout the year. The International Book Festival, supported by KBBY is held every year and has contributed to improvement of children's books and culture. Another is YoPeFe where teenagers from different countries present their traditional dance and songs and teach them to each other. Through this experience, they learn each other's culture.

There are a recycling Center, an environment school and a green store. Namisum used to be filled with garbage such as bottles of Soju and scraps from visitors' food. Children learn the importance of protecting the environment.

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