|For the year 2017, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced a list of 10 travel destinations and itineraries covering spots all over the country, with cultural heritage sites, food and accommodations listed at each location.
The ministry has chosen Jecheon, along with its neighbors Danyang, Chungju and Yeongwol, as tourist destinations for people looking to find peace in nature. Here, travelers will find pristine natural sites that offer a getaway from the bustle of city life.
“It’s a place with clear water, beautiful mountains and a whole bunch of things to do,” said Kim Dong Hak, the tourism and leisure director in Jecheon, by way of introducing the city.
The clean waters of the Uirimji Reservoir and Cheongpungho Lake reflect the sky and the Woraksan, Sobaeksan and Chiaksan mountains, surrounding the city with green. In Jecheon, people can enjoy leisure activities like paragliding, kayaking and a zip-line, while appreciating the landscape at the same time.
The first place to visit in Jecheon is the Uirimji Reservoir (의림지, 義林池).
According to legend, it was first made by Ureuk (우륵, 于勒), a musician who was active during the time of King Jinheung (진흥왕, 眞興王) (r. 526-576), the 24th Silla monarch. It’s the oldest man-made lake that survives in Korea.
The reservoir’s circumference is 1.8 kilometers and its depth is 13.5 meters. The water is surrounded by some 200 pine trees that are 200- to 300-years-old. From the three pavilions along the waterside — Yeonghojeong, Gyeonghoru and Ureukjeong pavillions — different scenes of Uirimji can be observed.
Jecheon’s clean water can be enjoyed on a large scale at Cheongpungho Lake.
Cheongpungho Lake was formed 1,500 years after the Uirimji Reservoir was made due to the construction of the Chungju Dam in 1985. Thanks to its width, it’s called Korea’s “inland sea.” The Chungpung Cultural Heritage Complex, the Chungpungho Tourist Monorail, bungee jumps and paragliding facilities are all collected near the lake. The scenic sight of Cheongpungho Lake seen from a pleasure boat is most-recommended to those who are tired from their busy urban life.
Tourism in Jecheon is more than just sight-seeing.
The Gyodong Minhwa Village is a tiny town near the Jecheon Hyanggyo Confucian School (제천향교). The school was established during the reign of Goryeo’s final ruler, King Gongyang (공양왕, 恭讓王) (r, 1389~1392). The village itself is another must-see in Jecheon. From 2009, local artists came together to paint the old town, turning it into the colorful tourist site of today. The paintings have seven themes: scholastic achievement, long life, eternity, recollection, hope, success and winning first place. Craftwork related to folk paintings are sold in the handicraft workshops run by the villagers. Visitors can also make their own minwha fans, make their own works of pottery, or bake minwha-inspired cookies.
By Kim Young Shin
Korea.net Staff Writer
Photos: Jeon Han, Korea.net Photographer