The 2020 World Heritage Festival, cohosted by Cultural Heritage Administration and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, kicks off Sept. 4 on the southern island.
The 17-day festival will allow visitors to enjoy some of the restricted sites, including lava caves on Jeju Island that are not normally open to the public.
The agency said it has selected 550 people for the 3-day guided tour around Seongsan Ilchulbong and caves of the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System. It added that the participants were especially interested in the guided tour programs to explore the two lava caves — Gimnyeonggul and Mangjanggul. A total of 252 people were selected for the cave tour from more than 3,000 applicants.
So far, a total of 10 caves have been discovered in the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System on Jeju Island and this year’s festival provides a chance to explore eight of these caves. Dangcheumul Cave and Yongcheon Cave, which are closed off for conservation reasons, will stay closed during the festival period.
Currently, only a 1-kilometer section of the Manjanggul Cave in Geomunoreum Lava Tube System is open to the public.
Also, three trails based on the route of lava flow in the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System were created for the festival.
The organizer emphasized that all organized programs will be held in small groups of 6 to 30 people. For a special performance, which will be held at the Seongsan Ilchulbong, no more than 100 people will be allowed.
Talks with notable speakers, including CHA head Chung Jae-suk, German journalist Anton Scholz and travel writer Han Bi-ya will be held in front of audiences no larger than 30 people.
The festival is the last of the three 2020 World Heritage Festivals being held in three different locations in Korea: Nine seowon, or Confucian academies of the Joseon era (1392-1910), that are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list; North Gyeongsang Province, home to the Seokguram Grotto and the Hahoe Byeolsingut Talnori (Hahoe mask dance drama performance); and Jeju Island.
More details about the program can be found at the 2020 World Heritage Festival website worldheritage.kr.
By Song Seung-hyun (email@example.com