▲ Gigantic glass mugs seem to float on a lake at Jeju Glass Castle. Photo by Hye Kyung Kang
Jeju Glass Castle is close to other tourist attractions, such as Spirited Garden, O’Sulloc Tea Museum and the Peace Museum, but it’s in a world of its own. Opened earlier this year, the attraction offers exhibitions in glass and opportunities to create your own works of art.
As you drive along Seohoeseon Ilju road toward Daejeong, you are likely to see a crowd of visitors headed for the huge statuesque wine glass that welcomes every guest who wishes to enter the gate into the glass world.
The Glass Castle has both an interior exhibition hall and an outdoor walking course. The interior exhibition hall contains seven distinct areas: a Mirror Room, Glass Orchestra, Glass Town, Magic Mirror Room, Sea Story, Treasure Island, and Glass Soybean Sprouts.
Upon entering the interior hall, you are first greeted by two-story “Jack and the Beanstalk,” exquisitely decorated with colorful glass jewels. From there visitors are led into a dark but illuminated Mirror Room flanked by two Jeju Dolhareubang guardians made entirely of glass.
▲ The “world’s largest glass diamond” adorns the museum’s outdoor park. Photo by Hye Kyung Kang
The Mirror Room is covered by more than 5,000 mirrors that magnificently display constellations in a vast expanse of universe. Next is a miniature version of a glass orchestra with 150 musicians holding tiny glass instruments. Deeper in the hall, the Glass Town offers visitors a hearty welcome. This stained glass exhibit vividly depicts a rural European town aglow with the setting sun.
The beauty of the landscape is further highlighted by a glass river that reflects the tranquil life of the illuminated buildings and churches. The Magic Mirror Room, unlike other displays in the interior hall, is an equilateral space filled with mirrors that allow visitors to observe themselves from different angles.
▲ A glass beanstalk from “Jack and the Beanstalk” stands two-stories high in the museum’s exhibition hall. Photo by Hye Kyung Kang
Situated across from the Magic Mirror Room, Sea Story presents aquatic life and incorporates more than 40 marine species and coral reefs. Adjacent to the underworld of wonder is the children’s favorite storybook in glass, “Treasure Island.” Although the treasures may seem genuine, everything from top to bottom is made of glass.
The fantastic voyage in glass ends at the Glass Soybean Sprouts, which look too real to be artificial. Every single soybean sprout is crafted from hundreds of pieces of glass.
▲ A glass Dolhareubang “grandfather stone” guards the doorway to the inner exhibition hall.Photos by Hye Kyung Kang.
Outdoors there are more than 250 art works situated around the grounds. They include one of the world’s first glass labyrinths, the largest glass diamond, and the largest glass ball, designed by an Italian glass artist, Pino Signoretto. There are also glass stonewalls, a glass bridge, a glass lake and even a glass bathroom.
For newlyweds who wish to have their photographs taken in a romantic setting, there is an eternal ring of glass that is always crowded with couples and a heart-shaped model that sparkles even more on a nice summer day.
There are also hands-on experiences in the studios on the second floor of the exhibition building. To get to the Glass Castle take the rural bus to Hallim, and a taxi the rest of the way.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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