Gangcheon Weir (강천보; map) is the southernmost weir built by the Four Rivers Project on the South Han River. It lies just south of downtown Yeoju City (여주시; map).
The weir’s three swooped, skeletal struts on its top deck (road view) resemble the mast of a Hwangpo sailboat (황포돛배).
Hwangpo sailboats once navigated Korea’s rivers throughout the Joseon Dynasty (조선; 1392~1897). They carried rice from Yeoju’s bountiful farms down to Hanseong, the Joseon capital and today’s Seoul.
A few kilometers upriver, recreated Hwangpo sailboats with orange colored sails carry tourists for short cruises along the South Han River in downtown Yeoju.
Gangcheon Weir’s length measures 440 meters, with seven 8-meter tall watergates totaling 350 meters. These movable beams help ease droughts by trapping river water for thirsty crops.
On the weir’s west end, three generators pump out 4,995 kWh of juice, enough to power 6,000 apartments.
Two fish ladders lie on either side of Gangcheon Weir. A 400-meter ladder on the west bank, and a 100-meter fish ladder on the east. They help fish avoid the weir’s watergates and migrate up and down stream.
Hangang Cultural Center
Like Ipo and Yeoju, Gangcheon Weir keeps a cultural center.
The three-story Hangang Cultural Center (한강문화관; map) on the western banks of Gangcheon Weir is open 9 AM to 6 PM (closed Mondays). An observation tower pokes through two comma-shaped roof sections that sweep over the building (road view).
The culture center’s insides offer an abundance of features.
- First floor:
- Cafe serving coffee and more.
- “Hangang Gallery” displaying local art, the history of the Han River, and information about the Four Rivers Restoration Project.
- A mixed media installation by German artist Julius Popp named “Enjoying 5,000 Years of Art.”
- A staffed certification center where cyclists can buy and certify their Bike Passport.
- Second floor: bookstore and convenience store
- Third floor: open-air patio with tables.
- Outdoors: sculpture park, wading pool, performance spaces, and a wall engraved with Four Rivers Project builders.
An elevator on the culture center’s first floor takes visitors up to the 39-meter tall observation tower. There they can get a high-angle view of the Gangcheon Weir and South Han River.
Drop by the Gangcheon-bo Certification Center (강천보 인증센터; map) outside the Hangang Cultural Center and stamp your Bike Passport.