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A Small Republic in Korea: Nami Island

Friday, January 1st, 2010


Situated 63km from Seoul in the middle of the Han River, the island looks like a leaf floating gracefully on top of Cheongpyung Lake. There are more than 300 different kinds of trees and 2 million tourists visit the island every year. Among them are 200,000 foreign visitors from all over the world - India, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and China. This unique island is called 'Nami Island.'


The Island has an area of 460,000 square meters and a circumference of 6 km. Nami Island was named after General Nami, a brave name from Korean history who courageously fought in battles and died at the age of 26. In 1965, thousands of trees were planted by Mr. Minn Byeong-do.

In 2001, Nami Island was a main filming location for the television series 'Winter Sonata' that became internationally famous. On Nami Island there are still traces left behind of the love between the hero and the heroin. Since then, Nami Island became a place of memorable times with love and romance for all generations.

Nami Island is known for its unique harmony between humans and animals and also as one of the most cultural and artistic tourist destinations. There are always ongoing cultural events including various performances and exhibitions that enable visitors to experience the culture of Korea as well as many other countries from all around the world.

One of the most outstanding international events on Nami Island is NAMBOOK Festival: Nami Island International Children's Book Festival, and YOPEFE: International Youth Performance Festival.

More than 70 countries participate in NAMBOOK Festival, promoting children's literature along with tradition and culture from their country, while youth from 33 countries show off their artistic and cultural talents in YOPEFE.

Thanks to all these events, culture and art from India were also introduced and became a big part of Nami Island culture that offers joy to all its visitors.

The National Ballet of India has already performed twice on Nami Island; 'Vajpayee' Dance performance; the Indian food festival; the performance of 'Sakti' by an Indian traditional dance group; 'Amrita Revisited' painting exhibition; and the original illustrations exhibition from A. Ramachandran were also successfully held on Nami Island. Many visitors from India also planted their own trees while enjoying a relaxing picnic on the island.

Since March 2006, Nami Island declared its cultural independence as 'Naminara Republic,' an imaginative fairytale country and the island became a truly unique tourist attraction in a form of a republic. Naminara Republic also has its own anthem, flag, currency, stamp, phone card and passport.

Applying hieroglyphic characters from China, Naminara Republic created its own letters that are written on papers hand-made out of wild flowers. Visitors can discover an interesting joy of experiencing a new country in Korea.

On Nami Island, many foreigners living in Korea enjoy their picnics while having a chance to promote their culture and arts through national days. India, Indonesia, Singapore, France, Denmark, Japan, China, Serbia, Egypt, Ecuador and the Philippines have already shared the joy with visitors through their national days.

Many materials that are decorating Nami Island come from the great use of recycling. Garbage, wasted bottles, cans and old benches are reborn as artworks through creative touches by many artists. Nami Island became a place for various civil, environmental and international organizations and artists. Visitors can also experience and learn new cultures at the 'UNICEF' hall where the fund is created for children in need, an environmental school, a green culture workshop and an arts and crafts studio for glass and ceramic works.

On the island, there is a hotel with 45 rooms and 10 cottages. The hotel is also decorated with recycled materials. All the televisions have been removed and were replaced with books so that the guests can enjoy their time in nature with literature. With books everywhere, even in bathrooms and on benches, Nami Island has become a 'library in nature.'

In the evening, the lights are all turned off for those who meditate with the sound of nature.

Under the moonlight and starlight, one can be truly in harmony with nature.

This is Nami Island, a small fairytale country in Korea where the sounds of birds, water, wind and breath become one, where one can find inner peace looking at the mist from the river.

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