A glorious world awaits you down there

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A glorious world awaits you down there

Caves are often the subject of myth, history and culture. Now, for those who are curious about these natural creations, there is an opportunity to find out everything about caves.

The city of Samcheok, a small town in Gangwon province, is holding the Samcheok World Wide Cave Exhibition until Aug. 10. Sure, they've got caves, but they even have something for the nonspelunker. The city has invested 24 billion won ($20 million) into creating a giant exhibition that includes a mammoth artificial cave.

There are five main event sites in Seongnam-dong and four additional places, including the Hwanseon cave. Eight nearby cities, such as Donghae and Taebaek, that have caves of their own and other provincial government groups will participate, along with 30 organizations from 20 countries.

The five main exhibition places in Seongnam-dong are spread out over 165,000 square meters, but of chief interest is the Mysterious Cave Hall. The first and second floors of the hall have been turned into an artificial limestone cave.

It feels almost real, and in addition, you can learn all about caves from the posters and movies that are on display. You can also learn about bats and the other animals that are frequently found inside caves.

On the third and fourth floor of Mysterious Cave Hall, you can catch a 15-minute movie about caves that will be shown all through the day.

The WorldHall features promotional booths from 30 caving organizations that come from around the world. They offer both information about the subterranean world and mineral souvenirs.

Dinosaur Hall features model dinosaurs and fossils, many you will recognize from "Jurassic Park."

At the Culture and Leisure Hall, fossils from the Paleozoic Age and raw gems are on display, while life-size models of dinosaurs from the Mesozoic age and a three dimensional film will let you know what life was like hundreds of millions of years ago. At the Animal Expedition Hall, visitors can view seven types of cave models, including limestone caves, salt caves and ice caves.

On the opening day, a kick-off show is scheduled to last for two hours and 30 minutes, offering tourists some traditional Korean music and performances by popular singers. During the exhibition period, a world dance festival, a circus performance by the National Russian Circus and an animation festival are also scheduled, so there will be a whole host of diverse events to provide something for everyone.

Those interested can reserve tickets at www.caveexpo.or.kr or call 033-570-3741. There are five shuttle buses operating between the five main exhibition places, running at three-minute intervals. A parking lot at the exhibition area has a capacity of 2,900 vehicles.

There is even a special train for the exhibition leaving from Cheongnyangni Station on July 9, 11, 15 and 17, while regular train service to Samcheok goes once a day from July 19 until Aug. 10.

by Hong Chang-eop

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