You can’t imagine going to South Korea without having basic information about the country’s provinces, cities, and capital, right? This is why we brought you another informative blog post to help you navigate the country in style. Here, you will learn about the unique facts about each city in South Korea (along with their actual Korean names) so that you will have an idea about the places that you should visit. So without further ado, let’s dive into it!
South Korean Cities
Many South Korean cities are situated near exquisite beaches or picturesque hillsides, making them lovely places to visit. Given their appeal, hiking and being outside is almost considered national activities. These cities are also known for their delectable cuisine, which will give you a glimpse of the country’s history and the locals’ preferences as well.
But before all those cities came to be, did you know that South Korea used to be one of the world’s most impoverished countries? Yep, you read that right! Today, it has become one of the best countries in Asia with the strongest economy. It is so popular that even foreigners know so much about its history and pop culture.
Many of its attractions feature the intriguing heritage, artwork, and regional customs of South Korea. Cities in the provinces of South Korea have been divided into three major categories; metropolitan cities, the capital, and self-governing cities. Let’s find out more about each.
- Busan – 부산광역시 (busangwang-yeogsi)
- Daegu – 대구광역시 (daegugwang-yeogsi)
- Daejeon – 대전광역시 (daejeongwang-yeogsi)
- Gwangju – 광주광역시 (gwangjugwang-yeogsi)
- Incheon – 인천광역시 (incheongwang-yeogsi)
- Ulsan – 울산광역시 (ulsangwang-yeogsi)
- Seoul – 서울특별시 (seoulteugbyeolsi)
- Sejong – 세종특별자치시 (sejongteugbyeoljachisi)
Seoul: The Capital
Seoul is historically one of the most essential parts not only of South Korea but in entire Asia. Its history dates back to around 2000 yrs ago, the times of Baekje. The southeastern part of present-day Seoul was the capital of Baekje, commonly known as Wiryeseong.
Like many other developed areas and cities, Seoul has seen many ups and downs in making it what it is today. Significant events include the Japanese colonization and war and the end of the 19th century marking construction and infrastructure enhancement.
The Japanese colonization started in 1910, and it went on until 1945. During colonization, people began settling in the remote regions of the city (illegal settlements), which raised the town’s industrialization. After some time, this drove an increase in population around the city, thus broadening the boundaries. This continued until Korea gained independence in 1945 and was named Seoul metropolitan city.
Within the next few years, the city again sees quite a drastic and dramatic phase of disturbance and destruction. The war broke out in the town in the 1950s, turning it into ashes. Despite colonization, war, and destruction, Seoul is admired for its rapid growth. It stood up within 30 to 40 yrs after the war, which took centuries for other countries. It also took control over many other residential and settlement issues within a few decades, thus setting the stage for abrupt economic growth and industrialization.
Phases Of Development
Seoul’s main issues can be divided into three phases: social issues, development, and technological development.
Social Issues And Development
During the 1960s and 1970s, Korea, especially Seoul, saw various settlement-related mad social issues, including that pollution, illegal residencies, an abrupt increase in population, and not to forget the lack of social infrastructure.
The solutions that the government of Seoul metropolitan adopted were to focus on infrastructure like contracting residential apartments and complexes to get rid of illegal urban dwellings, the building bridges like Cheonggye Overpass, and expanding roads to overcome trafficking-related issues.
Improved Infrastructure And Policies
This phase is also supposed to thrive off the already existing system with improved infrastructure to minimize the issues of previous development. It extends to the 1980s and 1999s, and this mainly focussed on the policy for beautification and managing the city and its surroundings.
The middle class’s subway infrastructure and housing schemes were introduced in this phase, solving most of the problems relating to population growth, sewerage, and roads.
They beautified the city through building and development plans for the Hanging river and roads like Gangbyeonbuk-ro and Olympic-daero. It also hosted the Asian and Olympic games in 1986 and 1988.
They say everything comes at the expense of something else. The development of Seoul and surrounding areas increased at a breakneck pace, but it had to sacrifice the natural environment, historical places, and the division of communities.
The focus of the authorities and other organizations shifted from infrastructure like urban management to the advancement in technology like information technology. They succeeded wildly in making Seoul and South Korea technologically advanced and digitized.
Various other projects are also at the grace of this phase, like the forest development project, the development of parks and Cheonggyecheon Stream restoration, and other shopping centers.
Largest Cities In South Korea
After we glimpse the capital of South Korea, let’s get enlightened about other cities to help you have a perfect summer trip to South Korea.
The population of Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea, is 8.2 million. In Busan, labeled the “Summer Capital of South Korea,” the beachfront, mouthwatering seafood, and cafés surrounding the coastline are popular summertime destinations.
You can enjoy countless distinctive events like the renowned international film festival, which is why the city is highly recognized.
In 2002, the Asian Games were held in Busan, which also served as a host city for the FIFA World Cup. The world’s biggest shopping center is in Busan, i.e., Shinsegae in Centum City.
Tip: Check out the Korean Calendar to learn about more events happening in Busan and South Korea in general.
Busan functioned as South Korea’s interim capital during the Korean War. The city, which is in the country’s southeast, has grown to be South Korea’s central industrial hub.It also serves as the cultural, educational, and economic hub of the southeast economic zone.
Daegu, the third-largest city in South Korea, is located in the northeast area of Gyeongsangbuk-do. Due to its favorable location, it used to be the financial center of the southern Korean Peninsula.
In this city, the textile industry grew throughout the 1930s and eventually replaced agriculture as the main driver of the local economy. Tourists are obsessed with visiting this marvelous city for many reasons. Besides the numerous visual features and stunning mountains, it also boasts a rich historical culture. Experience historical landmarks from the Silla and Joseon dynasties and beautiful vistas of the Palgongsan and Apsan mountains.
Beautiful sceneries may be seen in the city’s gardens, particularly in spring and fall. You may also take some time to explore exciting galleries featuring various old artifacts. In addition to Donghwa Temple and other well-known temples in the area, Gyeongju City, Andong City, and Haeinsa Temple are all nearby. They are targeted by the city’s tourism promotion efforts.
Gwangju is situated in the center of Gyeonggi Province and is the vital hub for ground travel close to Seoul. The traditional Korean culture originated in Gwangju, which also houses Korea’s rich history and culture along the Han River.
Gwangju offers a lovely dwelling habitat and significant market opportunities. It is a metropolitan area, and hills, meadows, and rivers make up more than 70% of the region. With a rich past, enticing scenery, the allure of lakeside luxury, and an excellent prospect for the future, Gwangju City is a flourishing metropolis. The metropolitan area’s water supply comes from Paldang Lake, which protects the city’s stunning natural surroundings.
South Korea’s Incheon is a prime example of a commercial port city, an enormous, highly modern international airport serving as a transportation center. You may visit locations like Incheon’s Chinatown to view old Sino-Korean architecture and then go to the impressive Incheon Bridge.
There are several little islands in the ocean waters close to Incheon. As a result, there are numerous resources for maritime tourism and excellent waterfront facilities. Here, goods from all over the globe are brought in and exported.
The overpass is brilliantly lighted at night, creating a mesmerizingly stunning view. Many locals frequently spend their weekends visiting Wolmido Island, which is close to Incheon. You may ride around the island on one of the sightseeing boats to take in the stunning beauty that surrounds it from all sides.
A pleasant area for a walk in the sunshine and moonlight is the white sands of Eurwangni Beach, which is close to Incheon International Airport. You can bathe in the beauty of this beach.
With 1.2 million residents, Ulsan is a seashore metropolis in southeast Korea. The city has a long history of whales and subsequently has served as the nation’s industrial hub. A few well-known attractions in this place that will surely make a trip worthwhile include Ulju, Daewangam Park, the Taehwa River, and the Petroglyphs of Bangudae Terrace in Daegok-ri.
Since the foundation of South Korea, Ulsan has been classified as a particular industrial zone. In 1962, Ulsan was upgraded to a city; in 1997, it attained metropolis status. Ulsan exports over 57 bil. $ worth of goods yearly as Korea’s most significant economic hub for the automobile, shipyard, marine, and petrochemical sectors.
Although Ulsan is not frequently included in travel publications, it serves as the entrance to the Yeongnam Alps, one of South Korea’s most stunning provincial parks with the best accommodations available. It also features twelve “Scenic Areas,” including man-made structures and ecological landmarks.
The tenth-largest city in South Korea is Seongnam, with a population of about one million. Due to its closeness to Seoul, Seongnam City has been used to relieve some of the city’s congestion, and companies with a presence there can benefit from several economic advantages. In fact, Seongnam was the first South Korean city that the government had designed.
Top cultural attractions in Seongnam City include the Seongnam Children’s Library, Pangyo Museum, Housing Museum, Land and Seongnam Arts Center, and the Folk Craft Exhibition Hall. The great historical sites in the area are also easily accessible from the city. These places include the well-known Namhansanseong Fortress, Bundang Daegwangsa Temple, and Daegwangmyeongjeon Bongguksa Temple.
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