Meet the other New7Wonders of Nature: Jeju Island

The campaign to have Table Mountain voted in as one of the New7Wonders of Nature was a long and grueling one, the culmination of a three-year campaign that drew more than 100 million votes from a variety of countries. A huge number of ambassadors, media partners, and volunteers all got behind the message to encourage people to cast their vote, especially during the last few days of the competition.

But how did the other six do it? Here we profile each one of the six other New7Wonders of Nature, find out a little more about each site, and how they made it into the final selection.

Jeju Island (inaugurated September 13 2012)

Rising up from the waters of the Korean Strait is Jeju Island – a rocky, volcanic, mountainous place unlike anywhere else on Earth. The island was created entirely from volcanic eruptions approximately two million years ago, and formed a stunning paradise consisting of craters, mountains and caves.

The highest peak on the island is also the highest mountain in all of South Korea – Hallasan, a shield volcano that is nearly 2 000 metres high. It is found at centre of the island, and it was the eruptions from Hallasan that formed Jeju Island, along with the 360 satellite volcanoes that are part of the main volcano. Unusual caves, or lava tubes, have now formed where lava once used to flow.

Photo courtesy New7Wonders

Jeju Island is home to some of the largest lava tubes in the world. Pillar-shaped rocks, along with the famous Seongsan Ilchubong volcano, dot the coastline of this Korean jewel, providing unparalleled natural beauty.

Along with the many Korean and international visitors who make a pilgrimage to this New7Wonder of Nature, half a million people call Jeju Island their home. Due to its isolation from the Korean mainland, language and culture developed quite separately here, and the local legends make for fascinating stories.

Stone sculptures known as “stone grandfathers” carved from basalt are a common sight. Women play an important societal role, as traditionally they have always been the primary breadwinners in their families. “Haenyeo”, or sea women, would free dive without any modern scuba gear and collect shellfish, seaweed and other marine products. These days, a booming tourism industry has taken shape on Jeju Island, offering great outdoor activities for nature lovers, and a scenic paradise getaway for those who prefer to take it easy.

After years of campaigning, Jeju Island was announced as one of the New7Wonders of Nature on November 12 2011. At the time Professor Chung Un-chan, former Prime Minister of South Korea said:, “Now Jeju Island has transformed from Korea’s Jeju into the world’s Jeju.”

Photo courtesy New7Wonders

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