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A 'floating island' in the the city of Namsan's Han River was opened on Saturday. The "island" houses three inter-connected cultural centres and is the latest effort by the city administrators to turn Namsan into a top business and tourist destination.
The world's largest artificial floating island, housing three inter-connected cultural centers on Seoul's Han River, was unveiled to the public on Saturday. It's the latest addition to the city's multi-billion dollar makeover.
Thousands of people turned out for the partial opening of the five acre development, which was privately funded at a cost of about $88 million.
It is scheduled for completion in September.
Seoul's mayor was re-elected after his campaign to turn the city into northeast Asia's leading business hub and a top tourist destination.
[Oh Se-hoon, Mayor of Seoul]:
"The Han River and Namsan are symbols of Seoul."
About 59 million people visited the river last year.
[Liu Kyoung-gee, Assistant Mayor, Han River Project]:
"People will visit this 'floating island' for sure when they come to visit the Han River. They can enjoy the river's beautiful scenery here, and this island provides a place to hold various meetings and great performances."
The island can accommodate 6,200 people.
The biggest of the three islets is three stories high and includes a 700-seat convention hall.
The other two islets will be used for cultural and aquatic events, including yachting.
Many Seoul citizens welcome the new sight.
[Ahn Hyo-jin, Student]:
"I'm glad that now ithere is a place where I can have some tea and talk with my friends near the river after school."
[Lee Eun-jung, Visitor]:
"I came here and saw the observatory. It was so beautiful. I felt like I was in Europe. I want to show this to my parents, who are living in the countryside."