The Gyeongju World Culture Expo in the ancient Silla capital city of Gyeongju is gaining attraction from students as a knowledge destination where they can learn about the Silla history and Korean cultural heritage.
According to the expo’s organizing committee, about 150 schools nationwide have planned their field trips to the expo -- which kicked off last month for 59 days under the theme of “Eurasia Cultural Express: Silk Road Cultural Festival."
Among many shows and performances, “Flying: Hwarang Expedition” has attracted the most attention from students on a field trip to the expo to experience Silla and Silk Road cultures.
Combining martial arts, gymnastics and dances, “Flying: Hwarang Expedition” is an action-packed, nonverbal show about Silla warriors hunting goblins through time while on the Silk Road. Inspired by an ancient Silla tale, the show is offered twice a day with multinational entertainers from Silk Road countries. Hwarang, or the Flowering Knights, was an elite group of Silla warriors.
Teachers take a commemorative photograph of students on a field trip to the Gyeongju World Culture Expo in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province. (Gyeongju World Culture Expo)
The show takes audiences to places such as China, India and Persia featuring the Chinese circus and Persian belly dances.
Another event at the Gyeongju World Culture Expo that is attracting attention from students is the Silk Road Grand Bazaar, showcasing a variety of authentic regional foods, teas and handmade crafts from about 20 countries connected with the Silk Road.
Participating Silk Road countries also hold daily parades introducing their cultures under the themes of “New Silk Road” and “Infinite Road.” Puppet shows are also being held at the Silk Road Grand Bazaar.
“The shows here at the expo make me want to visit and travel to the Silk Road,” said Kim Dong-hyun, a student from Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province.
Launched on Aug. 21 this year, the expo aims not only to promote the importance of the Silk Road that can boost trade between the East and the West, but also the importance of boosting intercultural exchanges along the trade route.
The ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom (B.C. 57―A.D. 935), one of Korea’s Three Kingdoms, was the eastern end of the Silk Road that connected all the way to Europe via China both economically and culturally.
Silla was able to introduce its culture in Turkey, located some 12,000 kilometers from Gyeongju because of this road linking with Europe, the expo’s organizing committee noted.
“We are beginning to bear fruit from the city, province and education institutions’ active marketing (of the expo),” said Park Si-hong, marketing manager of the expo.
“We expect to see a growing number of students to visit the expo this year.”