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Metropolitan City
Gwangju Metropolitan City
 • Hangul 광주광역시
 • Hanja 光州廣域市
 • Revised Romanization Gwangju-gwangyeoksi
 • McCune-Reischauer Kwangju-kwangyŏksi
Downtown Gwangju from city hall
Downtown Gwangju from city hall
Flag of Gwangju
Official logo of Gwangju
Slogan of Gwangju
Map of South Korea with Gwangju highlighted
Map of South Korea with Gwangju highlighted
Country  South Korea
Region Honam
Districts 5
 • Mayor Yoon Jang-hyeon[1]
 • Total 501.24 km2 (193.53 sq mi)
Population (October, 2014[2])
 • Total 1,477,780
 • Density 2,900/km2 (7,600/sq mi)
 • Dialect Jeolla
Flower Royal Azalea
Tree Ginkgo
Bird Dove
GDP US$ 36.7 billion [3]
GDP per capita US$ 24,520 [3]

Gwangju (Korean pronunciation: ) is the sixth largest city in South Korea. It is a designated metropolitan city under the direct control of the central government's Home Minister. The city was also the capital of South Jeolla Province until the provincial office moved to the southern village of Namak in Muan County in 2005.

Gwang (광, Chinese letter: 光) means "light" and Ju (주, Chinese letter: 州) means "province." Areas of scenery along the outskirts of the city gave birth to gasa, a form of Korean classical poetry. Located in the center of the agricultural Jeolla region, the city is also famous for its rich and diverse cuisine.


  • History 1
  • Administrative divisions 2
  • Religion 3
  • Population 4
  • Climate 5
  • Education 6
  • Transportation 7
  • Tourism 8
  • Sport and culture 9
  • Cityscape 10
  • International relations 11
    • Twin towns – Sister cities 11.1
    • Partnerships and Cooperations 11.2
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The city was established in 57 BC. It was one of the administrative centres of Baekje during the Three Kingdoms Period.

In 1929, during the period of Japanese rule, a confrontation between Korean and Japanese students in the city turned into a regional demonstration, which culminated in one of the major nationwide uprisings against Japanese rule during the colonial period.

Modern industry was established in Gwangju with the construction of a railway to Seoul. Some of the industries that took hold include cotton textiles, rice mills and breweries. Construction of a designated industrial zone in 1967 encouraged growth in industry, especially in the sectors linked to the automobile industry.

In May 1980, peaceful demonstrations took place in Gwangju against the newly installed military government of Chun Doo-hwan. The demonstrations were suppressed by military forces, including elite units of the Special Operations Command. The situation escalated after a violent crackdown, resulting in the Gwangju Uprising, where the civilians raided armories and armed themselves. By the time that the uprising was suppressed, many hundred civilians and several policemen / soldiers were dead. After civilian rule was reinstated, a national cemetery was established honouring the victims of the incident.

In 1986, Gwangju separated from Jeollanam-do to become a Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi), and then became a Metropolitan City (Gwangyeoksi) in 1995.

Gwangju is the main campaign capital of the liberal Democratic United Party, and its predecessors.

Administrative divisions

Gwangju is divided into 5 districts ("Gu").

Map Name Korean Hanja
Buk District 북구 北區
Dong District 동구 東區
Gwangsan District 광산구 光山區
Nam District 남구 南區
Seo District 서구 西區


Religion in Gwangju (2005)[4]

  Not religious (52.9%)
  Protestantism (19.7%)
  Buddhism (14.4%)
  Catholicism (13%)

According to the census of 2005, of the people of Gwangju 32.7% follow Christianity (19.7% Protestantism and 13% Catholicism) and 14.4% follow Buddhism.[4] 52.9% of the population is mostly not religious or follow Muism and other indigenous religions.


The population model of Gwangju is as follows;[5]

Year Population  
1960   409,283
1966   532,235
1970   622,755
1975   737,283
1980   856,545
1985 1,042,508
1990 1,139,003
1995 1,257,636
2000 1,352,797
2005 1,417,716
2010 1,475,745


Climate data for Gwangju (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.6
Average low °C (°F) −3.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 37.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 11.0 9.0 9.5 8.9 9.3 10.7 15.5 14.9 9.8 6.8 9.0 10.0 124.4
Average relative humidity (%) 67.7 65.2 62.9 61.9 66.4 72.8 80.0 78.1 74.3 68.4 68.1 68.8 69.5
Mean monthly sunshine hours 159.9 164.6 192.0 213.0 222.8 169.2 145.4 172.6 172.3 205.2 163.6 155.9 2,136.3
Source: Korea Meteorological Administration[6]


Chonnam National University is a public university in Gwangju.

Honam Univ, Gwangju University, Gwangshin University, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju Education University, Gwangju Women's University, Nambu University, Chosun University, and Honam Christian University are private universities.

Gwangju Health University is a private community college offering associate degrees in humanities and social sciences, healthcare sciences, and a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Gwangju has 593 schools, consisting of 234 kindergartens, 145 elementary schools, 84 middle schools, 65 high schools, 7 junior colleges, 9 universities, 38 graduate schools, and 11 others (as of 1 May 2009) with a total of 406,669 students, or 28.5% of the total city population. The average number of students per household is 0.8.


The city is served by the Gwangju Subway. An extension was completed in April 2008 with another due for completion in 2012. There are two KTX (high-speed rail) stations in the city: Gwangju Station and Songjeong-ri Station. Songjeong-ri is connected to Gwangju Subway but not Gwangju Station.

It is also served by the Gwangju Airport.


  • Asian Culture Complex Information Center – As of October 2010, the Asian Culture Complex is under construction and is due to open in 2014. The Asian Culture Complex Information Center is in operation.More about Asian Culture Complex Information Center
  • Gwangju Biennale – This is a modern art festival that is held every two years. It was first launched in 1995. The Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall is located at the Jung-oe Park Culture Center and the Science Center.
  • Gwangju Hyanggyo (Confucian School) – Gwangju Hyanggyo is located in the Gwangju Park in Sa-dong. There are traditional houses here estimated as built during the 1st year of the Joseon Dynasty in 1392. This school continues to hold memorial ceremonies for Confucius twice a year. Admission is free. More about Gwangju Hyanggyo
  • Gwangju National Museum – The museum houses a permanent collection of historical art and cultural relics that date back to the old Joseon and Goryeo periods of Korean history. The museum also organizes exhibitions and cultural learning activities that are open to the public.
  • Gwangju 5.18Road – 5.18 Road is the course about the Democratisation Movement in 1980. The courses include the historical places. More about 5.18Road

Sport and culture

  • It is the home of KBO)
  • The Gwangju World Cup Stadium.[8]
  • Festivals are held in Gwangju (광주광역시의 축제 목록)
Gwangju Sangmu Gymnasium

Gwangju is also the host city of the 2015 Summer Universiade.


International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Gwangju is twinned with:[10]

Partnerships and Cooperations

Other forms of partnership and city friendship similar to the twin city programmes exist:

See also

About Gwangju
General lists


  1. ^ "Welcome". Gwangju Metropolitan City. 
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ a b "Global city GDP 2014". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b 2005 Census - Religion Results
  5. ^ National Statistical Office of South Korea
  6. ^ "평년값자료(1981–2010) 광주(156)". Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  7. ^ (Korean) K-League news 4강 역사를 쓴 그곳, 광주 월드컵 경기장 Dream stadium of K-League
  8. ^ KOFICE 3rd Asia Song Festival 22 September 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-12
  9. ^ 2014 Gwangju ACE Fair. 2014광주ACE Fair 
  10. ^ Gwangju Sister Cities
  11. ^ Sister Cities Program. Retrieved on 2011-12-11.
  12. ^ "[via]"Guangzhou Sister Cities. Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  13. ^ MEDAN MENJALIN HUBUNGAN KOTA KEMBAR KEEMPAT Retrieved September 10, 2013 Archived 23 April 2007
  14. ^ Pessotto, Lorenzo. "International Affairs - Twinnings and Agreements". International Affairs Service in cooperation with Servizio Telematico Pubblico. City of Torino. Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 

External links

  • Official website of Gwangju
  • Gwangju News Online: the latest news and views about life around town
  • The 18 May Memorial Foundation
  • Gwangju :Official Site of Korea Tourism Org
  • Gwangju International Center
  • Gwangju Guidebook
  • Gwangju Foreign Network – Radio Station in English for Gwangju
  • Local events guide for Gwangju

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