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Flushed with pride, Korea celebrates toilet theme park

The Restroom Cultural Park showcases loos from around the world. Drop in to the Mr. Toilet House and, er, unload.

Built by Suwon's former mayor, Mr. Toilet House is a museum dedicated to the potty.
Mr. Toilet House

I've been to some bizarre spots in South Korea, from DMZ tunnels to a seaside park dedicated to giant penises, but a new theme park in Suwon is at the top of my must-see list: it celebrates toilets.

The Restroom Cultural Park is billed as the world's first toilet theme park. It's a monument to the colorful former mayor of Suwon, a man known as Mr. Toilet.

The late Sim Jae-duck was himself born in a toilet and had an affection for loos throughout his life, rigorously promoting public facilities while mayor.

Sim also founded the World Toilet Association and wrote a book entitled "Happy to Be With You, Toilet." He died of prostate cancer in 2009.

The park opened earlier this year and is now attracting foreign interest. It features Sim's toilet-shaped home, the Mr. Toilet House, which is now a museum dedicated to loos.

Sim's own high-tech toilet is available to visitors. It has a transparent door that clouds over when the facilities are in use.

As seen in the BBC report below, there's a history section reflecting on the less than pleasant Korean commodes of the past, as well as a gallery of art inspired by toilets.

There are also toilet signs from around the world, and poop-shaped souvenirs.

Suwon is indeed proud of its toilet heritage and boasts dozens of designer public restrooms that are kept as clean as possible. Every month the city holds the Cleanest Public Restroom Contest to local restaurants and other businesses.

Health, sanitation, and water conservation are important toilet issues in Suwon, and its quirky public toilets are listed as tourist attractions alongside the 18th-century Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"Humans tend to do most of their intensive thinking while sitting on a toilet," the city muses on its website.

"As can be seen, restrooms are no longer a place to finish up urgent business and quickly leave. It has evolved into a place where you wash your hands, primp yourself, and keep your mind and body neat."

(Via BBC News)