The “Tourism and Heritage Oasis,” a pavilion of Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), will be the major highlight of the Janadriyah National Heritage and Cultural Festival next year, said Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the commission.
“The high-tech pavilion will give an exciting experience for visitors to the Janadriyah festival. It will make use of the high tech facilities and highly advanced designs in showcasing the Kingdom’s rich heritage and culture as well as tourism potential,” he said.
Prince Sultan made the remarks while speaking to reporters after signing an agreement for sponsoring the pavilion with Saudi Telecom Company. The agreement was signed by Prince Sultan bin Salman and Saud Al-Daweesh, CEO of STC Group.
A number of other companies are expected to sign agreements with the commission to sponsor the pavilion in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Korean pavilion at Janadriyah is receiving large crowds of people, mainly women with their children.
“We had to let them in batches of hundreds every hour,” said Woong Chul Bac, the supervisor of the pavilion and the political and cultural counselor at the Korean Embassy in Riyadh.
South Korea was selected this year as the guest country in the 27th Janadriyah festival. It also marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"In this capacity, South Korea has participated with a unique large pavilion featuring Korean culture, history and tradition, avoiding using it as a display venue for our modern products to our friends in the Kingdom," Ambassador of South Korea to the Kingdom Kim Jong-yong said, explaining the pavilion’s uniqueness. "Instead, we made it a manifestation of the dialogue between Korean culture, history, nature and language through its theme of water, the vital element of life, using state-of-the-art interactive technologies and devices.
Even the intro wall to the pavilion showed the concept of the theme in Arabic calligraphy,” he added.
The theme was evident almost in all major sections of the pavilion. For example, the Time Tunnel section portrays the traditional Korean porcelains and the overview of historical exchanges, especially by sea, between Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Also there is a 3D presentation on water circulation, sacrifice, and synergy.
The Communicating with Water section shows through its 32 water jars leading cultural and historical icons of Korea, using interactive media. And the Digital Silk Road section circulates, in an electronic waterway, major images of historical exchange between the two countries.
In addition to these sections on theme of water, the pavilion includes the Future Gallery section, which shows future interactive technologies that both countries will enjoy in 2050 and presents profiles of the Korean companies that will be leading this development.
Also, the pavilion offers daily exciting outdoor stage performances. One is a traditional dance by a vivacious Korean Samul nori troupe and a modern group dance performed by state-of-art robots.
“Using robots in modern group dance instead of humans came in line with the tradition of the country,” the ambassador said.
Arab News asked some of the visitors about their impression following their visit to the pavilion.
Al-Anood Fahd Al-Bawardi, 11, said: “I liked the touch display methods and the 3D show on water and I learned that water is the most precious thing in life, therefore, we should preserve it and use it very carefully.”
Muhammed, 13, said: “The pavilion partially fulfilled a dream of mine to visit Korea because of what I knew about its fame in modern technology and what I read of its military history. But I didn’t like the dominance of technology on the display of Korean history and culture. This spoiled the historic essence of this culture. I think the best thing in any nation is its history.”
The pavilion also attracted Saudi volunteer girls.
“They are students at our Korean language girl class run by the embassy. We wanted them to practice what they learned and to help us in welcoming Saudi female visitors to the pavilion and communicate with their Korean women colleagues, whom we brought specially from Korea,” said Woong.