Songpa-gu in Seoul hosts an extensive, large cultural festival of the Baekje Kingdom
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Songpa-gu in Seoul hosts an extensive, large cultural festival of the Baekje Kingdom
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2020.04.22 12:23
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Mayor Park takes strong interest in the promotion of traditional Korean culture

By Cultural Editor Jeong Won-shik

The Songpa-gu Office in Seoul hosts the 2020 Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival in September this year. This was disclosed by Mayor Park Sung-soo of the Songpa-gu Office at a recent interview with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media since 1985.

Mayor Park told The Korea Post at his office in Seoul on April 21, “This time, we are planning to cordially invite many ambassadors and madams to enjoy all the wonderful things we offer as part of our interesting program to highlight the invaluable historical-cultural assets related with the brilliant culture and history of the famed Baekje Dynasty of Korea (18B.C.-A.D. 475).”

The Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival 2020, as was told afore, will be held in September this year at the Olympic Park and its vicinity in Seoul hosted by Songpa-Gu Office led by Mayor Park Sung-soo.

Songpa-gu is located in a bourgeoning district south of the Han River in the central-eastern sector of the Capital City of Seoul, a leading area of Seoul.

Mayor Park Sung-soo of Songpa-gu in Seoul
Mayor Park Sung-soo of Songpa-gu in Seoul

Songpa, according to Mayor Park, is a vibrant and dynamic city providing abundant jobs, welfare with a community-based childcare system that covers all families. Songpa is also widely known as a leading educational city of Korea where no child is left behind, an international cultural and tourist city where tradition and modernity co-exist, a safe city where residents can walk anytime, anywhere with the ease of mind, and an eco-friendly city where the blue skies are seen everywhere, even in the downtown area.

The government of the Songpa Ward is widely known also for other wonderful aspects, including the fact that, through human-centered administration, the city fully reflects the residents’ voices in policies. It is also known for global innovative administration that makes new changes every day.

Mayor Park Sung-soo of Songpa-gu sounds a large drum at the opening ceremony of the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival 2019
Mayor Park Sung-soo of Songpa-gu sounds a large drum at the opening ceremony of the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival 2019

Songpa, in the opinion of many people, is becoming a successful model for Korean local governments, realizing its vision for a livable city to all residents, the most sought-after city by 50 million people across the nation, and an advanced city attracting attention from the entire world.

“To maximize the happiness of our residents and elevate the value of Songpa, I will keep moving forward, walking step by step together with our 700 thousand residents,” assures Mayor Park.

Korean traditional dancing teams wearing Hanbok are presenting a traditional Korean percussion quartet performance, Samulnori, at the Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival.
Korean traditional dancing teams wearing Hanbok are presenting a traditional Korean percussion quartet performance, Samulnori, at the Hanseong Baekje Culture Festival.

As a festival that reproduces the history and culture of the Hanseong period of the Baekje Kingdom, which was founded 2,000 years ago, the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival has been held annually since 1994 in Songpa-gu, the capital city of early Baekje Kingdom.

The global festival has been named the representative ‘culture and tourism festival’ for the seventh consecutive year by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

An Experience Village at the Songpa Baekje Historical-Cultural festival.
An Experience Village at the Songpa Baekje Historical-Cultural festival.

With active participation by students and citizens from across the country, the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival has been evolving into a very significant event as a global festival.

The Songpa Ward is proud that the excellence of the Festival is recognized in and out of the country by receiving the Gold Award in Pinnacle Awards from the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), called the ‘Oscars in festival’ for consecutive years.

Members of a young family work on mud work at the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival.
Members of a young family work on mud work at the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival.

As the only leading history and culture festival of the period of Korea in the country, the Hanseong Baekje Cultural Festival will provide diverse special programs for foreign tourists.

The name of the city has been called Songpa by the hills in the area with many pine trees from pre-existing Goryeo Dynasty (Song in Chinese character means pine tree or trees and Pa means ‘hillock').

Songpa was the capital city of the Baekje Kingdom the period of King Onjo who is the progenitor to King Gaero of 21 generations for some 493 years.

The Jamsil area of the district is called Eastern Jamsil and Ferry Songpa near the current Seokchon Lake, which in the former times was an important merchant traffic route connecting Hansung (Seoul), Chungcheong province, and Gyeongsang province for 1000 years.

Photo shows the historical and cultural street parade of the Baekje Culture Festival on the Olympic Street (Jamsil Station to Mongchontoseong Station)
Photo shows the historical and cultural street parade of the Baekje Culture Festival on the Olympic Street (Jamsil Station to Mongchontoseong Station)

The Songpa Ward also teems with many other cultural-historical assets of Korea.

Offhand, Songpa has a total of six sports stadiums around the Mongchon Toseong (Earthen Fortress) area. Green areas were formed in Mongchon Toseong and surrounding regions.

There also are the Olympic Center and five stadiums (gymnastics, weight lifting, fencing, tennis, velodrome) which were built in 1986. Then there are the Olympic swimming pool and sculpture park which were added in 1988 when the Seoul Olympics Games were held.

Women performers present a drum dance at the opening ceremony of Dongmyeongje (Baekje Ancient Tomb Ceremony)
Women performers present a drum dance at the opening ceremony of Dongmyeongje (Baekje Ancient Tomb Ceremony)

The lightings are auto-controllable and the auditorium was specially designed to adjust the size. Outside wall of weight lifting stadium has a modern look with semi-transparent fiberglass panels.

The Seoul Olympic Park was built in the Mongchon Toseong site (Historic Site No. 297), a 2,285-meter-long historic site of the ancient capital of the Baekje Dynasty.

Painting of the Songpa-in Harbor by Artist Jeong Seon.
Painting of the Songpa-in Harbor by Artist Jeong Seon.

In the Park, there are Olympic monuments including ‘Peace Gate,’ ‘Meeting in Seoul’, and ‘Wall of Glory’ and the Mongchon History Museum where early Baekje remains are exhibited. More than 200 sculptures commissioned to famous modern sculptors from 66 countries are also exhibited.

A stone sign reading Songpa Naru ferry site.
A stone sign reading Songpa Naru ferry site.

In addition, Seoul Olympic Parktel was opened in September 1990, where the Seoul Olympic Memorial Hall shows everything related to the Seoul Olympic Games.

The Olympic Park is a great educational venue for history, art, culture, sports and leisure at the same time, and the park is used for sports and cultural and art performances for the Korean citizens and visitors from all parts of the world.

Young people walk on a lantern-lit street in Songpa ward.
Young people walk on a lantern-lit street in Songpa ward.

Biographical data of Mayor Park Sung-Soo:

Born: Aug. 25, 1964

Doctor of Law earned from Korea University in Seoul

Prosecutor at the High Prosecutor’s Office

Member of the Democratic Party

Graduated from Korea University in Seoul

Presidential Secretary on Legal Affairs, April 2007

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