Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik, right, and Amb. to Hungary Nam Gwan-pyo, second from right, mix “bibimbap” or mixed rice with vegetables at the opening of Korea Cultural Center in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday.
/ Courtesy of David Teszar
By David Teszar
The government has opened a Korean Cultural Center in Budapest, Hungary, the 22nd of its kind worldwide.
The opening ceremony Saturday was attended by more than 200 people, including Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Choe Kwang-shik, Hungarian Minister of National Resources Miklos Rethelyi, Ambassador Nam Gwan-pyo of Korea to Hungray, Director Seo Kang-soo of the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) and other prominent figures from the government, culture and art sectors of both countries.
The opening ceremony featured a wide array of celebratory performances ranging from Korean traditional music and dance by the National Gugak Center to a quintet concert by Korean and Hungarian students from the Liszt Academy of Music, followed by a dynamic K-pop cover dance by an aspiring Hungarian hip-hop dance group BeatLovers.
After the show a “bibimbap” performance took place in the hall, where Jeonju-born master chef Kim Nyeon-im prepared a huge bowl of bibimbap and the guests had the opportunity to stir it using big wooden spoons. The gastronomic delights were boosted by a reception simultaneously held in another room serving authentic Korean food.
The new institution in Hungary is the 22nd Korean Cultural Center worldwide and the eighth in Europe, joining centers in France, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Poland, Spain and Turkey. The net space of the Hungarian center is more than 1000 square meters which ranks it the biggest of its kind in East-Central Europe. It is equipped with 13 different rooms to learn about Korean culture, providing diverse facilities such as a multi-purpose art hall, a cultural workshop, a library of 3,000 volumes, a training room for taekwondo, a PC room, a cutting-edge multimedia lounge and three classrooms.
Starting from Monday, the new KCC hosts a variety of cultural programs from Korean language and cooking courses to Korean film screenings and Taekwondo training.
For more information, visit the new website (http://www.koreaikultura.hu, in Hungarian) or its official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/koreaikultura) that received more than 650 “likes” before the actual opening of the KCC.
David Teszar is a contributing writer for The Korea Times.