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This article is about Gwangju Metropolitan City. For the smaller city of the same name in Hangul and English near Seoul, see Gwangju, Gyeonggi. For one of its sister cities which has similar name in China, see Guangzhou.
Metropolitan City
Gwangju Metropolitan City
 • Hangul 광주
 • Hanja
 • 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: [kwaŋdʑu]) 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.[citation needed] Located in the center of the agricultural Jeolla region, the city is also famous for its rich and diverse cuisine.


The city was established in 57 BC. It was one of the administrative centres of Baekje during the Three Kingdoms Period.[4]

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.[5]

In 1986, Gwangju separated from Jeollanam-do to become a Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi), and then became a Metropolitan City (Gwangyeoksi) in 1995.[6]

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

Administrative divisions[edit]

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


Circle frame.svg

Religion in Gwangju (2005)[7]

  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.[7] 52.9% of the population is mostly not religious or follow Muism and other indigenous religions.


The population model of Gwangju is as follows;[8]

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[9]


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, 1 science high school (Gwangju science academy), 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 Gwangju Songjeong Station. Gwangju Songjeong station connects to the Gwangju Subway and local bus system.

Gwangju has an extensive system of public buses that traverse the city.[10] Bus stops and buses themselves contain stop information in Korean and in English. Local buses, but not the subway or KTX, connect to the intercity Gwangju Bus Terminal known as U-Square.[11]

Gwangju public transport fares can be paid with cash, some Korean bank cards, or via reloadable public transport cards, or small accessories attachable to phones or keychains, such as Hanpay, T-Money, and CashBee which are available at convenience stores.[12] A small discount is provided when using non-cash fare.[12] Reduced fares are available for youth (13 to 18) and children (7 to 12).[12] As of August 1, 2016 Gwangju transportation fares, in KRW, are:[13]

Adult Adult Youth Youth Child Child
Cash Non-cash (Card) Cash Non-cash (Card) Cash Non-cash (Card)
Regular Buses 1,400 1,250 1,000 800 500 400
Express Buses 1,800 1,700 1,500 1,350 1,000 850

Transfers can be made for free between local bus routes and the subway when using non-cash fare, provided that the user taps off when changing between modes of transportation, is going in the same direction, and, in the case of bus-to-bus transfers, is taking a bus with a different route number.[12][14] Free transfers between buses can be taken within one hour of tapping off; transfers from bus to subway must occur within half an hour.[15]

Most local taxis accept local and foreign cards in addition to cash and public transportation cards such as Hanpay.[16]

Gwangju is also served by the Gwangju Airport.


  • Gwangju Asia Culture Center - The Asia Culture Center (also known as the ACC or Asian Culture Complex) is a facility located in downtown Gwangju designed to celebrate and explore Gwangju's artistic and democratic culture and history as well as provide space to host exhibits, experiences, and events from international artists. It is built primarily below street level, though its design incorporates large amounts of natural lighting. There are five facilities: ACC Exchange, ACC Theater, ACC Creation, ACC Archive & Research, and ACC Children. [17]
    • Facilities
      • ACC Exchange includes May 18th Memorial Halls 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, the Ticket Office and Visitor Centre, and the Exchange and Cooperation centre. It is the only facility located on street level and incorporates buildings that survived the May 18th democratic uprising. The May 18th Democracy Square and a public use plaza are also located on street level. ACC Exchange has no charge for admission to the May 18 Memorial.
      • ACC Archive and Research, located in basement levels one through four includes a lecture room, conference hall, the Asian Culture Research Institute, Asian Culture Academy, Library Park, a Theater, a Reading Room, the Asian Culture Resource Archives, and the Culture Archive Storage. The Archives are free to the public.
      • ACC Creation, located in basement levels two through four contains six spaces for exhibits and installations and the ACT Studio. General admission to the exhibits is 20,000 won, 14,000 won for students, and 5,000 won for elementary aged students.
      • ACC Theater, located in basement levels three and four, includes two theaters with convertible seating, one of which can open to connect with the Outdoor Space to form an Outdoor Theater with open-air seating. Pricing for theater events varies.
      • ACC Children, located in basement levels one and two, comprises the Culture Adventure centre, Children's Content R&D Center, the Play Culture, Play Kids, Playhouse, and Play Library centres, a Cafeteria and Lunch Lounge, and a Children's Event Hall.[18] Prices vary between areas of ACC Children.
  • 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 Culture & Art Center – The Center regularly hosts events.Gwangju Culture & Art Center Official Website
  • 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
  • May 18th National Cemetery
  • 8 Scenes and 5 Flavours of Gwangju
  • Food Streets
    • Gwangju has numerous designated Food Streets where multiple restaurants serving dishes renowned to Gwangju can be found. These include Mudeungsan Boribap Street (a meal of barley with a variety of side dishes), Duck Cook Street (oritang, a duck stew, and grilled duck), Folk Tteokgalbi Street (a meal of grilled minced pork or beef patties eaten wrapped in lettuce and served with ox bone soup and a variety of side dishes) and Kotgejang Baekban Street (a meal of crabs preserved in soy sauce served with a variety of side dishes).

Sport and culture[edit]

Gwangju Sangmu Gymnasium


International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Gwangju is twinned with:[23]

Partnerships and Cooperations[edit]

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

See also[edit]

About Gwangju
See also: Category:Gwangju.
General lists


  1. ^ "Welcome". Gwangju Metropolitan City. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Global city GDP 2014". Brookings Institution. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "The History of Gwangju". 
  5. ^ "May 18th Democratic Uprising". 
  6. ^ "The History of Gwangju". 
  7. ^ a b 2005 Census - Religion Results
  8. ^ National Statistical Office of South Korea
  9. ^ "평년값자료(1981–2010) 광주(156)". Korea Meteorological Administration. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  10. ^ "광주광역시 버스정보". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  11. ^ "U-Square (Gwangju Bus Terminal) (유스퀘어(광주종합버스터미널)) | Official Korea Tourism Organization". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  12. ^ a b c d "광주광역시 버스정보". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  13. ^ "광주광역시 버스정보". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  14. ^ "Gwangju Guide : Bus". Gwangju Guide. June 11, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  15. ^ "쿄통카드/요금안내 광역대중교통확승제FAQ - Q.5". 
  16. ^ "Living in Gwangju : Transport". Gwangju Guide. Gwangju International Center. January 8, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Asia Culture Center". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  18. ^ "Asia Culture Center". Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  19. ^ (Korean) K-League news 4강 역사를 쓴 그곳, 광주 월드컵 경기장 Dream stadium of K-League
  20. ^ KOFICE 3rd Asia Song Festival 22 September 2006. Retrieved 2011-10-12
  21. ^ "2016 광주 ACE Fair". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  22. ^ "Korea National Park". Retrieved 2016-04-25. 
  23. ^ Gwangju Sister Cities
  24. ^ Sister Cities Program. Retrieved on 2011-12-11.
  25. ^ "Guangzhou Sister Cities[via]". Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Office. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  26. ^ MEDAN MENJALIN HUBUNGAN KOTA KEMBAR KEEMPAT Retrieved September 10, 2013 Archived 23 April 2007
  27. ^ 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[edit]

Coordinates: 35°10′N 126°55′E / 35.167°N 126.917°E / 35.167; 126.917