The sixth largest city in South Korea, Gwangju, is a city that designated metropolitan city under the direct control of the central government’s Home Minister. Also this city was the capital of South Jeolla Province until the provincial office moved to the southern village of Namak in Muan County in 2,005. Because Gwangju was promoted into a metropolitan city and independent from South Jeolla province. The name Gwangju itself is composed from Gwang meaning light and Ju meaning province. Gwangju was historically recorded as Muju in which "Silla merged all of the land to establish the provinces of Gwangju, Ungju, Jeonju, Muju and various counties, plus the southern boundary of Goguryeo and the ancient territories of Silla" in the Samguk Sagi. In the heart of the agricultural Jeolla region, the city is also famous for its rich and diverse cuisine.
1. An Artistic cityIn Gwangju city, lies Gwangju Asia Culture Center, a facility in downtown Gwangju that designed to celebrate and explore Gwangju’s artistic and democratic culture also the history. This place also provides space to host some exhibists, experiences, and events from international artists. Built primarily below street level, though its design incorporates large amounts of natural lighting. There are five facilities within this facility : ACC Exchange, ACC Theater, ACC Creation, ACC Archive and Research, last ACC Children. In Gwangju there is The Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, a modern festival that is held every two years. First launched in 1,995. Also there is a museum that houses some permanent collection of historical art and cultural relics that date back to the old Joseon and Goryeo periods of Korean. The museum also organizes exhibitions and cultural learning activities that are open to the public. For artists seeking supplies, many of the stores also carry very affordable materials.
2. A youthful cityGwangju has a thriving youth and arts culture, full of them event the glance down of the streets of Geuumnamno will more fashion conscious populace. Not only that, the city has some numerous art galleries and hosts a biennial Biennale. Has an interesting claim to fame as having the largest and most moden bus teriminal, and possibly the largest single pedestrian drinking, dining, and clubbing district in the country. A reflective of the city in general, which holds much more modern and clean appearance than anywhere else, perhaps Busan. In Korea itself, Gwangju is famous for its cuisine as is the province of Jeolla, and the entire area is considered as the breadbasket of Korea. On the practical side, food is generally tastier and easier on the wallet throughout this province. Getting around in Gwangju is really quite easy, though rush hour significantly adds to travel time.
3. Has Historical Monuments and memorialsClaimed to fame for it’s own Tianmen Square uprising on May 18th, 1,980, Gwangju has two memorials for this moment in its history. The main one is found in the beautiful 5.18 park in central Sanmu. Also there is an exhibition hall there that help enlightens visitors to the events that lead to the violent democratic uprising. And you can follow the walking path to the top of the hill where you can climb a three story pagoda for having yourself take a nice view of more modern part of Gwangju. The other memorial to this occasion is the 5.18 Cemetery, which located in the northeast of the city, about 50 minutes from the bus terminal. You can see more of the monuments and dedication for this moments of history, but just make sure if the museum is opened, since you will waste the worth of time taking such long journey if they did not. A back street near downtown spanning approximately three blocks. It is full of artists and their works in galleries and nicely decorated store windows. In the evenings, it is lit up especially beautiful and provides a nice quaint walk a stone's throw from the most hectic pedestrian area in town.
Gwangju Tourist Spots
1. Mudeungsan National ParkMudeungsan Nationtl Park is a mountain at the edge of Hwasun-gun, Damyang-gun and Gwangju. Mt. Mudeungsan (1,186m) features three rock peaks called Cheonwangbong, Jiwangbong, and Inwangbong, also known as the “Jeongsang Three." Mudeungsan’s gradual slope makes it an easy climb for all. Locals once worshiped Cheonwangbong Peak as it was considered a mountain of God. Among the more majestic of these sites are the Seoseokdae, Gyubong, and Ipseokdae peaks. At the base of the mountain are several famous temples including Yaksaam, Jeungsimsa, and Wonhyosa. Mt. Mudeungsan is also known for its beauty throughout the year. The fall autumn leaves of Gyubongam and Eoksae grass of Baekma ridge is quite spectacular. In the winter, snow and ice on the mountains create exquisite scenery as well. Below the mountain, there is a variety of recreational facilities and tourists sites for visitors. This includes the Gwangju National Museum, a traditional Korean style building with exhibition space and artifacts on display. These items total 2,000 artifacts and include treasures excavated from the sea of Sinan, items from Honam province (made during the Seonsa, Baekje, and Silla periods), and paintings from the Joseon Period.
2. Songjeong 1,913 MarketSongjeong Station Market was opened in 1,913 in connection with the opening of Gwangju-Songjeong Station. For many years, the market was the go-to-place for necessary items and produce, but with the increase of large marts in the 1,990s, people began to visit traditional markets less and less. In order to increase the liveliness of Songjeong Station Market and showcase the difference between large marts and a traditional market, the entire space was redesigned around the theme of time. The newly redesigned 1,913 Songjeong Station Market, located just across the street from Gwangju-Songjeong KTX Station, has a bright appearance with modern-styled architecture and signboards detailing the history of the various shops. Visitors can enjoy all the classic market foods here, such as hotteok (hot griddle cakes), gyeran bap (rice with egg), and eomuk (fisk cake).
3. Gwangju Folk MuseumOpening in 1,987 as Korea's largest municipal museum, Gwangju Folk Museum's objective is to collect and exhibit Korean folk material and transmit them in their original forms to future generations. Consisting of three stories, two above ground and one in the basement, the museum operates the Permanent Exhibition Hall on the first floor and the Moral Culture Hall on the second floor. Permanent Exhibition Hall displays material culture, such as food, clothing, housing, livelihood, and folk crafts; Moral Culture Hall displays folk entertainment, seasonal customs, and folk religions centering around the life and folklore of the people in the Gwangju region. Learn about traditional life in Jeollanam-do through the somewhat retro-looking dioramas and models here, which cover everything from kimchi and clothing to courtship rituals and shamanism. You can go there by taking the bus that comes every 20 minutes from in front of the bus terminal to Biennale Exhibition Hall stop. Also there is Bus 95 that comes every 15 minutes from in fron of the ACC.