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Yeosu – Tales From The Sea
Yeosu – Tales From The Sea
The 2012 universal exposition along with Tangier and Worclow in Poland, Yeosu, while small, dreams big. Proud city with a glorious naval past, Yeosu and the sea have always been closely linked. From fishing revenues to ecotourism, gaining increasing popularity within the region, the city’s future lay largely in the swells beyond its shores. On top of this maritime richness, the city also boasts various renowned cultural properties and, last but not least, its own kimchi variety !
Yeosu Universal Exposition 2012
The dynamic city of Yeosu, located on the southern tip of mainland Korea, is the official host city of the 2012 World Expo. This year the convention will run under the theme “The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Activities,” a theme which encompasses three different focuses: “Coastal Development and Preservation,” “New Resources Technology,” and “Creative Maritime Activities.”

The exhibition aims at increasingly global awareness of the immeasurable value of the ocean as a resource. Participants and organizers hope that increasing awareness will facilitate global cooperation and information sharing on responsible use of ocean resources and contribute to the elaboration of a common model of maritime development.

Official Title
International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 / Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea
Theme: The Living Ocean and Coast
Coastal Development and Preservation
New Resources Technology
Creative Maritime Activities
Location: New Port Area in Yeosu, South Jeolla Province, Korea
Period: May 12, 2012 -August 12, 2012 (93 days)
Emblem & Mascot


The emblem of the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea conveys the essence of the expo. Red represents living creatures inhabiting the land and seas. Green represents the environment—home to all living things. Blue represents the clear, clean seas and the white lines represent the sea waves.

Yeony and Suny, the official mascots of Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea, are personifications of plankton, a primary food source for marine life and a key absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Jinnamgwan – 진남관
This picture gives a good idea
of the size of the building
The woodwork is ingenious and impressive
The bigger the better, right? In the case of Jinnamgwan, that just might prove true. Standing 14 metres high and 54 metres long, this impressive building is the biggest single story wooden structure in Korea. It was originally a command post for naval leader Yi Sun-shin (1545-98) and then served various official purposes. Besides its gargantuan proportions, Jinnamgwan most striking quality is its rugged and rustic appearance, giving it character.
Yeosu Stone Man – Run for you life!
According to legend, these sculptures played a significant role in protecting Yeosu during the Japanese invasion (1592-98) by scaring away the Japanese soldiers. Stricken with fear, the sight of these imposing figures, standing two meters high, towered over the approaching soldiers like giants. During ancient times, the average height was significantly smaller than it is today.
There were seven of them originally, but only this one has survived to this day. The statue stands on the grounds of Jinnamgwan.
Hansansa Temple - 한산사
Perched on a small mountain, Hansansa temple has a great view over the city and the bay. Hansansa is a small intimate temple, colorful and quiet, surrounded by the sweet apricot smell of fragrant olives.
Tip: The taxi is your best bet to reach this hard to get to temple.
Odongdo – 오동도
According to legend, a phoenix used to frequent Odong-do Island, which at the time was covered by a lush forest of paulownia (odong) trees.

This bird being a symbol of the King, its frequent apparitions during the reign of King Gongmin (reign: 1351-1374, Goryeo dynasty) alerted priest Sindon, who considered such signs to be indication of a sudden uprising against the King. He thus ordered the trees to be cut down to prevent the bird from coming again to the island.

Nowadays, camellias and bamboos have replaced paulownia trees and visitors can wander peacefully on this pretty little island without worrying about a possible run in with a phoenix.
What’s on Odongdo?
Odong-do, first of all, means ‘beautiful scenery’. However, there is much more to do than simply walking around the island. For starters, you can take a small train for camellia-theme tour of the surroundings (500 won per person), watch the musical fountain show on the main plaza (shown every half hour), experience a thrilling motorboat ride around the island (cost: 30,000 won – up to 5 people) or simply enjoy a nice meal on a terraced restaurant with beautiful vista views of the sea.
Hyangilam Hermitage – 향일암
Nested on a cliff overlooking the clear blue seas of the South Sea, Hyangilam hermitage will require you to burn a few calories if you want to enjoy its dramatic views.
Hyangilam, meaning ‘hermitage facing toward the sun’, is a popular spot for sunset watchers. It is also one of the most prized locations from which to enjoy the New Year sunrise. The great priest Wonhyo founded it in 644.
What are those little pagodas?
Whether it be a mountain hike near a temple or a hermitage in Korea you will surely find these little stone pagodas scattered here and there.
Each stone symbolises a wish. Add a stone to the pagoda to make a wish. But be careful, if the pagoda crumbles, your wish won’t come true.
Geobukseon – 거북선
A life size replica of the famous turtle ship which kept the Japanese away during the Imjin war (1592-98) is anchored near Dolsan bridge. Yeosu and the Geobukseon are tightly linked since the city was the headquarters of naval commander Yi Sun-shin at the beginning of the war.

The Geobukseon was the world’s first armored ship. She inflicted heavy damage to the Japanese fleet thanks to its intrinsic qualities and method of attack. Armored from head to toe, she was impervious to arrows and harquebus shots. Moreover, its iron rooftop laden with spikes rendered its assault difficult. Koreans were using it as a ramming ship. They dashed through enemy lines to disorient them and opened fire from both sides of the ship, sinking enemies flanking it.

-> Visit of the ship: 1200 won. The ship is located near Dolsan Bridge on the Dolsan Park side.
• Links and useful info

Getting to Yeosu:
By bus : The bus is the best way to go to Yeosu from Seoul. Buses depart from Central City bus terminal in the Gangnam district.
To go to Central City, take subway line 3 and get off at Express Bus Terminal station, take exit 2 and follow the Honamseon (호남선) direction.
Buses depart every hour or so, from 6AM to 11PM, the price of the ticket is 30,600 won (one way), travel time is 5 hours.

By plane : Planes depart from Gimpo International Airport near Seoul.
9 flights a day / 60 000 won (one way) / travel time: 55 minutes
To go to Gimpo Airport, take subway line 5 and get off at Gimpo International Airport.

Websites :
- Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea:
- Yeosu municipality :
- Gimpo International Airport :
- Yeosu interactive map : (Korean)

Written by Mathieu Deprez

Date 09/17/2008

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