A festival that allows tourists to experience both traditional and modern Korean cultures kicked off at a historic marketplace in downtown Seoul on Thursday.
There are three "zones" at the 2016 Namdaemun Market Global Festival, with different themes. At the K-style zone, foreigners may try on "hanbok," traditional Korean attire, and purchase clothes and accessories made popular by local TV series at a discounted price.
Over at the K-military zone, visitors are offered a chance to re-enact the lifestyle of Korean peace-keeping troops as played out in the runaway hit TV series "Descendants of the Sun." Here, foreigners may try on the military uniform worn by Army Capt. Yoo Si-jin and sample Korean military food.
The K-pop zone plays music videos of Korean idol groups and features a "noraebang" booth, where anyone may test his or her singing talent. Visitors may also engage in a K-pop dance contest on the video game console Wii.
On the second floor of the festival's main building is where tired shoppers may take a pit stop and listen to "samulnori,"
Korea's traditional percussion music, K-pop and other performances that fuse modern Korean music with the traditional "gugak."
The Global Factory Day portion of the festival gathers Namdaemun's best-selling items in one place. Displayed in flea-market style, they mostly consist of accessories, kitchenware, interior design items and children's outfits.
Choi Chang-sik, head of the Jung-gu Office hosting the event, said he hopes the festival promotes Namdaemun, the oldest remaining market in South Korea, as a must-go place for tourists visiting the country.
"We hope to make Namdaemun like Santa Caterina Market in Barcelona, Spain, where tourists always make sure to stop by during their journeys," he said.
South Korea's Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) announced last year that it will dedicate the next three years to nurture Namdaemun Market as a global tourist destination. The festival is the agency's first attempt to achieve this goal.
The Namdaemun Market Global Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday. (Yonhap)