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4 rivers reborn with events held at selected reservoirs

Selected reservoirs of the four major rivers have opened to the public with celebratory events to mark the completion of the Korean government’s river restoration project.

The events were held on October 22 at a reservoir on each of the four rivers -- Ipo of the Han River in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province), Gongju of the Geum River in Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do (South Chungcheong Province), Seungchon of the Yeongsan River in Gwangju, Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla Province), and Gangjeong Goryeong of the Nakdong River in Daegu, Gyeongsangnam-do (South Gyeongsang Province).

Hundreds of people gathered at the reservoirs for the events, which were attended by President Lee Myung-bak and heads of government organizations. They all marked the completion of the project which is ready to bear fruit as one of the government’s leading green growth projects.

The Ipo Reservoir of the Han River in Gyeonggi-do (left), the Gangjeong-Goryeong Reservoir of the Nakdong River in Gyeongsangnam-do (right) (Yonhap News)

* Celebratory events, attractions of four reservoirs

The events program included an official celebration ceremony involving speeches from high-profile government figures and local residents, cultural programs, water sports, bike-riding, and street parades.

Seven metal sculptures which look like egrets and their eggs were built at the Ipo Reservoir, which was named the most popular of the reservoirs in a recent survey,. At Ipo, people went bike-riding and participated in waters sports like windsurfing, canoeing, and kayaking.

A riverside walking festival, concerts, water sports, and other celebratory events were held at Gangjeong-Goryeong Reservoir of the Nakdong River, the longest among the 16 reservoirs of the four rivers. Among the attendees of the celebration events included Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choe Kwang-sik. Some of the must-see attractions of Gangjeong-Goryeong Reservoir include a Gaya earthenware-shaped lookout post named “Tanjudae” and a water harmonium made with twelve colors of lights and twelve stairs. Gaya earthenware is a type of earthenware from the Gaya confederacy (42-562), one of the ancient powers in Korean history.

The Gongju Reservoir of the Geum River in Chungcheongnam-do (left), the Seungchon Reservoir of the Yeongsan River in Jeollanam-do (Yonhap News)

Gongju Reservoir of the Geum River also bustled with visitors who gathered for the celebration. This reservoir has sculptures shaped like the wings and tail of a phoenix. People can relax and have fun at an old port site, a water park, a wetland, and bike roads which are built along the reservoir. Visitors can also travel and learn more about the history of the Gongju region at tourist attractions around the reservoir which include the Gongju National Museum, a village of Hanok or traditional Korean houses, and the Royal Tomb of King Muryeong (462-523) of Korea’s ancient Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. - A.D. 660).

At Seungchon Reservoir of the Yeongsan River, visitors had fun bike-riding along the river and boarding an old ship named after the founder of the Goryeo Dynasty (918 – 1392), Wang Geon (877-943). Another must-see attraction for visitors is the rice grain-shaped sculptures built on the reservoir. These sculptures symbolize the rice produced in the Honam plain of South Jeolla Province.

President Lee Myung-bak and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok attend a celebration held at the Ipo Reservoir of the Han River on October 22.

* River restoration project helps protect environment, enhance local economy: President 

At the ceremony held at the Ipo Reservoir, President Lee Myung-bak said in his speech that he is very happy to restore the four rivers as more environmentally and eco-friendly rivers to the peoples.

"The rebirth of the four rivers will also help to revitalize the local economy and the social integration of local communities across the nation," President Lee added.

By Yoon Sojung Staff Writer


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