The Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013 takes place in Istanbul, Turkey from August 31 to September 22. Co-hosted by the two cities under the theme of Road, Encounter and Companion, the event will include 50 countries from around the world.
Both Gyeongju and Istanbul were trade hubs connecting the Eastern and Western Worlds, with the ancestors of the Turkish people ruling the Central Asian continent in alliance with the ancient Goguryeo Kingdom. More recently, Turkey sent 15,000 soldiers to South Korea to fight in the Korean War. The World Culture Expo is to shed new light on the blood alliance and its historical importance, as well as seek a better future through stronger mutual cooperation.
During the expo, Korea and Turkey will present more than 30 special cultural programs in 10 fields of art in order to boast their cultural excellence, including exhibitions, performances, hands-on events and many more. One such feature is the Korean Culture Hall, in which visitors can look around the history of the two countries and enjoy Korean culture. Other exhibitions include the Korea-Turkey Exchange Exhibition, a photo exhibition of leading Korean photographers and the Special Exhibition on the Cultural Properties of Korea.
In the performing arts segment, the non-verbal fantasy performance Flying, which has been exported recently to Singapore to huge popularity, and the Shilla, Land of the Gods, which depicts the love story of Princess Seondeok, are ready to mesmerize audiences. A B-boying Fusion Performance will also be performed, along with traditional fashion shows, street parades and Taekwondo performances.
The exhibition will also feature The Korean Film Festival, the Korea-Turkey Traditional Culture Experience and the Special Exhibition on Famous Korean Film Directors. Over 40 films will be screened during the festival, as well as movie star autograph events, allowing people from around the world to become more familiar with the Korean Wave.
A number of famous singers can be seen during the Special K-Pop Stage, while specialties and souvenirs from 30 countries worldwide will be available at the Silk Road Bazaar. The World Folk Culture Festival will parade the beauty of the traditional cultures of around 20 nations in order to promote cultural unity. The provincial and municipal troupes of North Gyeongsang Province and Gyeongju City will stage their own performances, while exhibition halls will be set up to publicize the province, the city and Korean companies.
“The event will mark an important step in the great cultural journey of North Gyeongsang Province and Istanbul,” said Kim Kwan-yong, co-chairman of the organizing committee for the expo. He continued, “Both governments are dedicated to the success of the international event.” The other cochairman, and mayor of Istanbul, Kadir Topbas, echoed this, saying, “I’m very pleased to hold this event in Istanbul, a city where more than 30 million tourists visit every year for its cultural vitality.” He added, “We’ll make great efforts to ensure that it becomes an important and successful cultural event.”
As stated, the purpose of the expo is to review the historical significance of the Silk Road and the two cities that are located at either end. The venue itself is a symbolic landmark of Istanbul linking the past with the present. The Hagia Sophia Plaza, where the opening ceremony will be held, is one of the best structures built during the Byzantine Empire. The Eminonu Plaza, which will house the Korean Culture Hall, is a traffic hub of Istanbul and has been picked by international tourists as one of the country’s must-see spots.
Gyeongju City and North Gyeongsang Province are anticipating that Istanbul-Gyeongju World Culture Expo 2013 will create momentum for introducing Korean culture and industries in Europe as well as attract foreign tourists.
The Gyeongju World Culture Expo, held every couple of years in 2,000 year-old Gyeongju City, is a cultural exposition in which the perfect harmony between Korean culture and global culture is sought. It has been held six times since 1998. Close to 60,000 artists from across the world have participated in the event with the total number of visitors topping 10 million.
Seven years ago, the event was held in Cambodia as the Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture Expo and received huge international acclaim. The IstanbulGyeongju World Culture Expo 2013 is the second Gyeongju World Culture Expo to take place in tandem with a foreign city. This year’s event is expected to add to its reputation as one of the foremost cultural events and festival brands representing Korea.