Banwol Island, on the south west coast of South Korea, has reinvented itself and has gone from a little-known farming community to a true Instagram sensation. The island became known as “the purple island” after painting the roofs of about 400 buildings in a shade between purple and lilac. However, the roofs are not the only purple thing on the island: there are lavender fields, telephone booths and a large bridge in the same shades. According to the Korea Travel Post, even the signage and utensils used in restaurants across the island are also purple.
According to CNN, the project was planned in 2015, when the Southern Jeolla Province wanted to “create attractive island destinations” and was inspired by the purple campanulas, a biennial flowering plant native to the area. In addition to painting 400 roofs purple, the authorities also planted fields of lavender and purple wildflowers. The small islands Banwol and Bakji have less than 150 residents in total and are joined by a bridge, also in shades of purple.
Banwol became popular in the summer, having received more than 100,000 visitors between June and August 2020, an increase of 20% over the previous year, which is a very significant number, especially given the travel restrictions due to to the pandemic.
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