광명동굴

Gwangmyeongdonggul - Gwangmyeong donggul - Gahakgwangsan Cave - Siheung Mine


Useful Information

Location:  
Open: All year Tue-Sun 9~18, last admission 17.
[2019]
Fee: Adults KPW 6,000won, Soldier KPW 4,000, Youth (middle, high school) KPW 3,500, Children (3-elementary school) KPW 2,000.
Gwangmyeong Citizen: Adults KPW 3,000won, Soldier KPW 2,000, Youth (middle, high school) KPW 1,800, Children (3-elementary school) KPW 1,000.
Groups: Adults KPW 5,000won, Soldier KPW 3,500, Youth (middle, high school) KPW 3,000, Children (3-elementary school) KPW 1,700.
Gwangmyeong Citizen Group: Adults KPW 2,500won, Soldier KPW 1,800, Youth (middle, high school) KPW 1,500, Children (3-elementary school) KPW 800. [2019]
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: electric.
Dimension: L=7.8km, VR=275m, Ar=42,797m²
Guided tours: L=2,000m.
Photography:  
Accessibility:  
Bibliography:  
Address: Gwangmyeongdonggul, 142, Gahak-ro 85beon-gil, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do, Tel: +82-1688-3399.
1330 Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

02-MAY-1902 mine first established.
1912 begin of intensive mining under the Japanese Iida Kyuichiro.
25-JUN-1952 during the Korean War the nearby town was bombed and residents took refuge in the mine.
1961 the mine was the birthplace of the first Korean labor movement.
1972 end of mining.
1978-2010 used to store salted shrimp from the Sorae Port.
2011 begin of development.
APR-2014 opened as a show mine.
2016 exhibition of Lascaux cave replica drafted 174,000 visitors.
2017 Top 100 Must-Go Destinations in Korea.

Description

Gwangmyeongdonggul Cave seems to be the "internationalized" name of this new tourist site, which is in the top 100 tourist spots in South Korea. Nevertheless the name is a mistake hidden in an error. First donggul means cave in Korean, so the word cave is actually twice in the name, translated it means Gwangmyeong Cave Cave. And then it is wrong, as this is definitely no cave, its a mine with a theme park. And even the Gwangmyeong is wrong, as it is the name of the town where it is located, while the mine is actually named Siheung Mine.

The mine was operated in the first half of the 20th century, staffed by forced labourers under the Japanese Colonial Rule. It is a gold mine but produced also silver, copper, and zinc. The production of the mine can only be estimated, but it definitely produced hundreds of kilograms of gold. The copper produced by the mine was mostly used with tin to produce the alloy bronze. The mining continued after the Japanese left the country, and the mine was finally closed in 1972 due to floods which caused environmental pollution.

The mine was refurbished and reopened in 2011 as a tourist destination. Unlike show mines in Europe it has a typical Korean twist, as people go there to have a good time and because it is cooler underground. And actually its location at the outskirts of Seoul metropolitan area makes it and ideal day trip, it can easily be reached by public transport. So the historic and geologic aspects of the mine are the most uninteresting part of the place. Important are the Cave Aqua World, an underground aquarium, Horror Experience, the Underground Lake, and the largest dragon sculpture in Korea. There is a tunnel with dark light and an underground winery, or better wine shop and bar, named Cave de Vin. Even the Golden Road shows lots of gold items which seem to be from a movie set, but provides no information about gold or gold mining.

A strange event was the Lascaux Exposition Internationale Gwangmyeong Korea in 2016. The 130 years anniversary (who in hell commemorates 130 years?) of diplomatic relations between Korea and France was the reason for a temporary exhibition. It was a replica of the famous painted cave Lascaux in France. Probably the only thing at this mine which has actually some relation to a cave. It was quite popular and was visited by 174,000 visitors.

Actually this place has a lot of geology and history to offer. Various metals were mined and gold was only the most valuable. The history of the mine is connect to political events and wars, the mining was actually forced by the Japanese Colonial Rule, local peasants were forced to work in the mine. This was an important bunker during the Korean War, babies born in the bunker were called Guldaengi. And it was the place of the first Korean labor movement.