The 6th Gyeongju World Culture Expo will be held in Gyeongju, the old capital of the Silla Kingdom, in North Gyeongsang Province for a 60-day run from Aug. 12. "About 1.5 million visitors from 47 countries are expected to participate in the global cultural festival, which will be held at the Gyeongju Expo Park and Gyeongju City under the topic of "The story of a millennium - love, light and nature," Kim Kwan-yong, head of the Organizing Committee of Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2011 and governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do. "The international event is designed to help Korean people and foreign visitors usher in a new millennium through various historic tales of Silla, which created its flamboyant cultural heritages," said Kim. The governor said, "We are going all-out to make the event the best ever held in all aspects such as content, size and facilities. We will herald Korea's culture and the province's prowess to the world by hosting the high-quality global event." In a bid to attract more domestic and foreign tourists to the region, the event will take place at the Gyeongju Expo Park and other venues around the city on a land of 590,000 square meters in association with the 2011 Daegu World Championships in Athletics, which will take place from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4, he said. The expo, organized by Gyeongju City and the Organizing Committee of the Gyeongju World Culture Expo, will invite people from some 47 countries and consists of 100 programs in four categories - official events, performances, multimedia and exhibitions, along with other sideline programs. "Following opening and closing ceremonies, there will be thematic performances, an international dance festival, street performances, puppet theater, a b-boy and university students' festival, and regional culture showcases," he explained. Noting that the biggest characteristic of the 2011 World Culture Expo is the mix of state-of-the-art technology with Silla's brilliant culture for the first time in the nation, Kim said, "The multimedia section will present 3D film and a multimedia show featuring the Gyeongju Tower, the city's landmark. Exhibition corners will display animation characters, traditional puppets and fossils from around the world."
World Buddhist Culture Festival
Other programs comprise four major events that will be held every 15 days during the 60-day expo - "A start ceremony" on Aug. 11, "A special big event" on Aug. 27, "Hangawi (Chuseok) festival" on Sept. 12 and "World Buddhist Culture Festival" on Sept. 24. "In particular, many guests from Buddhism-related organizations in the world and Korean Buddhist leaders will attend the World Buddhist Culture Festival to shed new light to the Buddhist culture of the Silla Kingdom," said the governor. "Sideline events include the World Best Circus, which combines highlights of major circus programs of Russia, China, and the Philippines, and the World Dance Festival, which will feature troupes representing 16 countries from around the globe including Greece, Turkey, China and Japan," Kim said. The governor also said, "Visitors should not miss opportunities to taste traditional foods from different countries and a folk costume fashion show. Hungarian, Russian and Rumanian artists will reenact a European festival by offering outdoor performances and events. Passersby can enjoy mime, magic and acrobatic shows as well as meet painters sharing their artwork on the street." In addition, family audiences also can check out puppet shows by Czech, New Zealand and Thai participants, and an exhibition featuring dolls from around the world. "One noteworthy is a corner that will invite Expo-goers to try on traditional Silla era costumes often seen in period dramas. Other sideline events include engraving one's name on a brick to build a 15-meter "dokkabi bridge," he explained.
Characteristics of the Gyeongju World Culture Expo
Commenting that the Gyeongju World Culture Expo this time is the biggest and the best ever in terms of contents, scale and facilities, Governor Kim said, "We employed all know-how and infrastructure accumulated during the past years." Since its inception in 1998, the Expo has attracted some 8.5 million visitors. This year, the committee expects some 1.5 million people to visit the international event. "The outstanding characteristic of the 2011 Expo is the introduction of Korea's advanced culture technology (CT) to the millennium Silla culture for the first time in the nation. For instance, the movie, "Byeokrucheon" featuring the Silla culture, is a three-dimensional (3D) animation film," he noted.
Gyeongju Tower Multimedia show
"Another highlight of the Gyeongju World Culture Expo is an outdoor multimedia show that will feature the Gyeongju Tower as its background. It features video, lighting effects, laser beams, fireworks and sound designs surrounding the 82-meter tower, a supersized replica of a nine-story wooden pagoda at Hwangnyong Temple," Kim said. Commenting that the show is an upgraded version of the 2007 Moonlight Laser Show, he said, "It aims to offer a unique audiovisual spectacle that celebrates the origin of life, the vibrant culture and history of the Silla Kingdom - from its rise and war-torn fall and destruction. It culminates in a grand finale that makes the Gyeongju Tower disappear altogether, which is rendered through the application of 3D optical effects. It is the first time the technique is being showcased in Korea." He said that the 20-minute show will take place every day after sunset. On weekends, the show will be followed by a range of rock, metal, pop and jazz performances. The World Music Festival, running for an hour, will take place in front of the tower.
Admission ticket information
Admission fee is 8,000 won for children aged 4 to 11 and 10,000 won for students aged 12 to 17 and 15,000 won for adults. Those who bought a ticket can enjoy performance, 3-D animation film, Gyeongju Tower multimedia show and exhibition without paying additional fare.Visitors to the Gyeongju Expo are also entitled to a 20-50 percent discount at such facilities as Gyeongju World, the Teddy Bear Museum, California Beach, Hanwha Resort, Concorde Hotel and other hotels and condominiums during the 60-day event period.