Bengduigul, one of the 10 caves found so far in the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System. — Photo The Korea Herald/ANN
JEJU CITY — “Please turn off all the flashlights,” Ki Jin-seok, a curator of Jeju World Natural Heritage Centre, said during a press tour of a restricted section of Manjanggul. Unlike the section of the cave that is open to the public, this area does not have a single light installed. The cave soon became pitch dark.
“Even after a while, your eyes will not get used to this darkness, because there is no light at all here,” Ki said. Manjanggul is a 7.4km-long cave created by basalt lava flows on Jeju Island.
The tour is one of 12 programmes that the Cultural Heritage Administration and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province have jointly created for the 2020 World Heritage Festival in Jeju, which will run from September 4 to 20.
Kang Seung-bu, secretary-general of the festival in Jeju, said that creating balanced programs, which can satisfy those who argue that nature should be untouched for preservation as well as those who claim that it should be developed and promoted, was challenging.
“Natural heritage cannot be restored if it is damaged, but also it cannot be properly understood if we only preserve it,” Kang said.
“There are a total of 14 UNESCO designated heritages in Korea and Jeju is the only place that was listed as natural heritage site while the others were designated as cultural heritage sites,” Kim Tae-wook, general director of the 200 World Heritage Festival in Jeju, said.
In 2007, the World Heritage Committee inscribed Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes on the natural heritage list.
“We are also aiming to create a festival that people can enjoy during the coronavirus era,” Kim, who directed the PyeongChang 2018 Cultural Olympiad, added.
During the press tour, the festival organizer highlighted the three special hiking trails which run through Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, which was created by a lava flow that originated at Geomunoreum, a 456m volcanic peak covered in lush forest, to Woljeongri Beach. — The Korea Herald/ANN