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Coordinates: 35°52′N 128°36′E / 35.867, 128.6

—  Metropolitan City  —
Daegu Metropolitan City
 - Hangul 대구 광역시
 - Hanja 大邱廣域市
 - Revised Romanization Daegu-gwangyeoksi
 - McCune-Reischauer Taegu-kwangyŏksi
Region Yeongnam
Districts 7
 - Mayor Kim Bum-il
 - Total 885.62 km2 (341.9 sq mi)
Population (2005)[1]
 - Total 2,752,670
 - Density 3,108/km2 (8,049.7/sq mi)
 - Dialect Gyeongsang
Flower Magnolia
Tree Fir
Bird Eagle
Website: daegu.go.kr (English)

Daegu (pronounced [ˈdaɪˈɡu]), also spelled Taegu (pronounced [ˈtaɪˈɡu]), officially called Daegu Metropolitan City, is the fourth largest city in South Korea after Seoul, Busan, and Incheon.[2] It is the capital of Gyeongsangbuk-do province, although it is not legally part of that province. As with South Korea's other metropolitan cities, Daegu's government reports directly to the national government.



Main article: History of Daegu


Throughout and before recorded history, Daegu has served as a nexus of transportation, lying as it does at the junction of the Geumho and Nakdong rivers. During the Joseon Dynasty, the city was the administrative, economic and cultural centre of the entire Gyeongsang region.

Prehistory and early history

Archaeological investigations in the Greater Daegu area have revealed a large number of settlements and burials of the prehistoric Mumun Pottery Period (c. 1500-300 B.C.). In fact, some of the earliest evidence of Mumun settlement in Gyeongsangdo have been excavated from Siji-dong and Seobyeon-dong.[3] Dongcheon-dong is one of the substantial Mumun agricultural villages that have been excavated.[4] The Dongcheon-dong site dates to the Middle Mumun (c. 850-550 B.C.) and contains the remains of many prehistoric pit-houses and agricultural fields. Megalithic burials (dolmens) have also been found in large numbers in Daegu.

Ancient historical texts indicate that during the Proto-Three Kingdoms of Korea period, Daegu was the site of a chiefdom or walled-town polity known in historical records as Dalgubeol. The first mention of Dalgubeol is dated to 261[citation needed]. We know nothing of the earlier history of Dalgubeol, and little of what came later, except that it was absorbed into the kingdom of Silla no later than the fifth century. A number of other chiefdoms are associated with the local area such as Abdok and Abyang.


Silla defeated the other two kingdoms of the Three Kingdoms of Korea in the late 7th century, with assistance from Tang China. Shortly thereafter, in 689, Silla's King Sinmun considered moving the capital from Gyeongju to Daegu, but was unable to do so.[5] We know of this initiative only through a single line in the Samguk Sagi, but it is presumed that it indicates both an attempt by the Silla king to augment royal authority and the entrenched resistance of the Gyeongju political elites that was the likely cause of the move's failure.[6]

In the late 1990s archaeologists excavated a large scale fortified Silla site in Dongcheon-dong, Buk-gu.[7] The site at Locality 2 consists of the remains of 39 raised-floor buildings enclosed by a formidable ditch-and-palisade system. The excavators hypothesize that the fortified site was a permanent military encampment or barracks. Archaeologists also uncovered a large Silla village dating to the 6th to 7th centuries AD at Siji-dong.[8]

The city was given its current name in 757.

Many artifacts of the Silla period are found on Palgongsan around Donghwasa temple in northern Daegu. Donghwasa itself dates from the Silla period, as does the stupa of King Minae.

Later Three Kingdoms and Goryeo

During the Later Three Kingdoms period, 890-935, Daegu was initially aligned with Hubaekje. In 927, northern Daegu was the site of the Battle of Gong Mountain between the forces of Taebong under Wang Geon and those of Hubaekje under Gyeon Hwon. In this battle, the forces of Taebong were crushed and Wang Geon himself was saved only by the heroism of his general Shin Sung-gyeom. However, it appears that the conduct of the Hubaekje forces at this time changed local sympathies to favor Wang Geon, who later became the king of Goryeo.

Numerous place-names and local legends around Daegu still bear witness to the historic battle of 927. Among these are "Ansim", which literally means "peace of mind", said to be the first place where Wang Geon dared to stop after escaping the battle, and "Banwol", or half-moon, where he is said to have stopped and admired the moon before returning to Taebong. A statue commemorating the battle now stands in northern Daegu, as does a memorial to Sin Sunggyeom.

The first edition of the Tripitaka Koreana was stored in Daegu, at the temple of Buinsa.[9] However, this edition was destroyed when the temple was sacked in 1254, during the Mongol invasions of Korea.[10]


Always an important transportation center, in the Joseon Dynasty Daegu lay on the Great Yeongnam Road which ran between Seoul and Busan. It lay at the junction of this arterial road and the roads to Gyeongju and Jinju.

In 1601, Daegu became the administrative capital of Gyeongsang province, and the city has been the capital of North Gyeongsang province since that province's formation in 1896.

Daegu's first regular markets were established during the late Joseon period. The most famous of these, and the only one to still be operating, is the Yangnyeongsi herbal medicine market. This became a center of herbal trade in Joseon, and even attracted buyers from neighboring countries. Traders from Japan, who were not permitted to leave the Nakdong River valley, hired messengers to visit the market on their behalf.

Korean Empire and Japanese rule

Korea began to open to the world in the late 19th century. In 1895, Daegu became the site of one of the country's first modern post offices, as part of the reforms pushed by the Japanese after the murder of Queen Min.[11]

Beginning in the late 1890s, many Japanese merchants and workers came to Daegu, which lay on the newly-constructed Gyeongbu Line railroad connecting Seoul and Busan.

In 1905, the old fortress wall was surreptitiously destroyed. Only one portion of this, the First Yeongnam Gate, remains, standing now in Dalseong Park. The rest of the fortress wall is remembered only through the names such as the streets Dongseongno and Bukseongno, "east fortress street" and "north fortress street", which now run where the wall once stood, and Seomun Market which once stood at the city's west gate.

The Korean independence movements were active in Daegu. These began as early as 1898, when a branch of the Independence Club was established in the city.[12] As the demise of the Korean Empire approached in 1907, local citizens led by Seo Sang-don organized the National Debt Repayment Movement. This movement spread nationwide, although it was unsuccessful in its attempt to repay the country's debt through individual donations. Resistance activities continued after the 1910 annexation, notably during the March 1st movement of 1919. At that time, four major demonstrations took place in Daegu, involving an estimated 23,000 people.[13]

South Korea

The end of Japanese rule in 1945 brought years of turbulent change to Daegu. Under the USAMGIK provisional military government and the subsequent First Republic, Daegu was a hotbed of unrest. In October 1946, the Daegu uprising took place, one of the most serious incidents of unrest during US military rule,[14] where police attempts to control rioters on October 1 caused the death of three student demonstrators and injuries to many others, sparking a mass counter-attack killing 38 policemen[15]. It was also the site of major demonstrations on February 28, 1960, prior to the fraudulent presidential election of that year.[16]

Daegu and all of North Gyeongsang saw heavy guerrilla activity in the late 1940s, as thousands of refugees arrived from the fighting in Jeolla.[17] In November 1948, a unit in Daegu joined the mutiny which had begun in Yeosu the previous month.[18]

During the Korean War, much heavy fighting occurred nearby along the Nakdong River. Daegu sat inside the Pusan Perimeter, however, and therefore remained in South Korean hands throughout the war. As in many other areas during the Korean War, political killings of dissenters were widespread.

In the second half of the twentieth century, the city underwent explosive growth, and the population has increased more than tenfold since the end of the Korean War. The city was heavily politically favored during the long military dictatorship of Park Chung-hee, when it and the surrounding area served as his political base. Conservative political movements remain powerful in Daegu today. Daegu is a political base for Korea's ruling Grand National Party.

In the 1980s, Daegu became a separately administered provincial-level Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi), and was redesignated as a Metropolitan City (Gwangyeoksi) in 1995.

On February 18, 2003, a mentally ill man set fire to a train of the Daegu Metropolitan Subway stopped at Jungangno station. The resulting blaze killed nearly 200 people, making the Daegu subway fire one of the worst disasters in South Korea since the end of the Korean War.

Today, Daegu is the 4th largest metropolitan area in Korea with respect to both population and commerce.



Daegu sits in a basin surrounded by low mountains. Palgongsan to the north, Biseulsan to the south, the foothills of Gayasan to the west, and a series of smaller hills in the east.

The Geumho River flows along the northern and eastern edges of the city, emptying in the Nakdong River west of the city.


Daegu has a humid subtropical climate. The mountains that comprise the basin trap hot and humid air. Similarly, in winter, cold air lies in the basin. The area receives little precipitation except during the rainy season of summer, and is sunny throughout much of the year. Data gathered since 1961 indicate that the mean temperature for January, the coldest month in Daegu, is -0.7°C and that for August, the warmest month, is 26.3°C. The City's lowest record temperature was -20.2°C. And the City's highest record temperature was 40.0°C.[19]

Image:Nuvola apps kweather.svg Weather averages for Daegu, South Korea Image:Weather-rain-thunderstorm.svg
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4
Average low °C (°F) -5
Precipitation cm (inches) 2.0
Source: Weatherbase[20] February 2007

Administrative divisions

Main article: Wards of Daegu

Daegu is divided into 7 wards ("Gu") and 1 county ("Gun").

Name Hangul Hanja
Buk-gu 북구 北區
Dalseo-gu 달서구 達西區
Dong-gu 동구 東區
Jung-gu 중구 中區
Nam-gu 남구 南區
Seo-gu 서구 西區
Suseong-gu 수성구 壽城區
Dalseong-gun 달성군 達城郡


The major industries of Daegu are textiles, metals and machineries. The quality of the apples grown around Daegu is renowned around East Asia.[citation needed] Beginning in the late 1990s the central and local government, using a model loosely based on the Italian city of Milan, actively attempted to develop Daegu's textile and clothing manufacturing industries under the 'Daegu:Fashion City'. Some eyewear industry-related enterprises and automotive parts manufacturers have established themselves.


There are five universities in Daegu, including Kyungpook National University.[21] It was founded in 1946 and is one of the most recognized and highly ranked national universities in Korea along with Seoul National University and Pusan National University. Yeungnam University, located in nearby Gyeongsan, is one of the most prestigious private universities in Korea outside of the city of Seoul along with Keimyung University in Daegu and Dong-A University in Busan[citation needed]. The Yeungnam University Museum is the largest university museum in Korea. There are some smaller post-secondary institutions such as Daegu University and many technical and professional colleges.


Traditionally, people from Daegu have been seen as conservative, modest, hard working, and patient.

Daegu is known as the home of Korean baseball. The Samsung Lions were once again victorious in the Korean Series in 2006. Before the advent of the professional leagues, its high school teams were avidly followed. Korea's only domed baseball stadium is under construction in Daegu. The city was a co-host of the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer game. A new football stadium was built for the event.

Traditionally Buddhism was strong; today there are still many temples. Confucianism was popular in Daegu, with a large academy based in the city. Christianity has gained its ground, and churches make up one of its cityscapes today.

Because of the city's rapid growth, the architecture is generally functional and uniform. Some exceptions do exist in older buildings, and in some of the newest, such as Dongdaegu Station, and the Exco building.

Venue - 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics

On March 27, 2007, Daegu was selected as the host city for the 2011 athletics World Championships. Daegu competed with cities such as Brisbane, Australia to earn the votes of the IAAF Council. South Korea may propose fielding a united team with North Korea at the event.

Parks and temples

See also: List of parks in Daegu

Daegu has a number of popular parks including Apsan, Palgongsan, Dalseong, and Duryu Parks. Apsan is a mountain that has many trails, Buddhist temples, a Korean War museum, and a gondola ride to the peak. Palgongsan houses many historic Buddhist temples including Pagyesa and Donghwasa. Dalseong Park sits inside a 1500-year-old earth fortress. Duryu Park has many walking trails, sports facilities, and a large amusement park. Additionally, the Woobang Tower is located in the park at the summit of Duryu Mountain (131 m above sea level).

Nearby tourist attractions include Haeinsa—a Buddhist temple that houses the Tripitaka Koreana (a woodblock edition of the Tripitaka and one of the world's oldest extant complete collections of the Buddhist scriptures)—. Haeinsa is located in Gayasan National Park. The historic city of Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla is located southeast of Daegu.

International Daegu

Daegu hosts three American military bases, Camp Walker, Camp Henry and Camp George, the latter which houses Taegu American School (primarily for children of military personnel). Although non-military families can enroll their children at the school, most either home-school their children or send them to a small Christian private school which teaches about 25 children near the central business district of Daegu.

Sports and shopping

Daegu is a home of Samsung Lions, a professional baseball club, which belongs to Korean Baseball Organization.

Daegu is home to the KBL Basketball team Daegu Orions.

Daegu is also home to the K-League soccer club Daegu FC.

Daegu FC is one of the best citizen soccer teams in Korea.

The 2011 World Championships in Athletics will be hosted by Daegu.

Shopping is centered in the central business district. One shopping district is called Dongseongno. There are also a number of department stores. Many of these belong to national or multinational chains, but the local Debec department store also operates two branches.

Bodypainting festival

On August 25 through August 31, 2008, Daegu hosted the first ever Asian Bodypainting Festival, a sister event of the World Bodypainting Festival in Seeboden, Austria.


Daegu's population is quite homogeneous with few non-Koreans. However, number of immigrants from South and Southeast Asia work in automotive-parts factories on the city's west side. In addition, there is a small group of English-speaking Westerners working in English schools. The American military bases are also home to several thousand Americans. Recently Chinese students have begun studying Korean at universities in Daegu, and there is an increasing number of graduate and post-graduate students from other Asian countries. As elsewhere in Korea, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Western food is most common but recently Indian and Russian foods have become available.


There are two types of buses which are local and limited express. Limited express buses have more seats, but often passengers are required to stand. As of 2008, Local bus costs 1100 won, Limited express bus costs 1500 won. Discounted fare is available with a prepaid card. For the local bus is available at 950 won and for the limited express at 1300 won.

Bus route numbers are made up with 3 digits, each number indicates the area that bus serves. For example, number 407 bus runs from zone four, to zone zero, and then to zone seven. Other routes, usually circular, are named for the districts they serve and numbered 1 through 3.

Also, there are two subway lines, and the third line is under construction. Fare is 1100 won on distance and 950 won with a prepaid card. There is a free interchange scheme between the metro and bus within an hour of first use for the prepaid card users.

Traffic is sometimes heavy. However, the major thoroughfares handle fairly high volumes of traffic without too much trouble.

Daegu is served by Daegu Airport (international/domestic) located in northeastern Daegu, and also by the KTX highspeed train at Dongdaegu Station, which was re-opened in 2004 after extensive renovations.

Saemaul and Mugunghwa trains depart from Daegu Station, an all-new building with cinemas, restaurants and a Lotte Department Store, located near the city centre.

Famous residents

Former President Roh Tae-woo, First Lady Kim Ok-sook, politician Park Geun-hye, Daewoo Group founder Kim Woo Joong and actress Son Ye-jin were all born in Daegu.


  1. National Statistical Office (2008). bin/sws_999.cgi?ID=DT_1IN0502&IDTYPE=3&A_LANG=1&FPUB=3& SELITEM=0 "행정구역(동읍면)별 인구, 가구 및 주택". http://kosis.nso.go.kr/cgi- bin/sws_999.cgi?ID=DT_1IN0502&IDTYPE=3&A_LANG=1&FPUB=3& SELITEM=0. Retrieved on 2006-11-17. 
  2. The 2005 census found that Incheon's population was 2,531,280, while Daegu's was 2,464,547. National Statistical Office (2005). "행정구역(동읍면)별 인구, 가구 및 주택". http://kosis.nso.go.kr/cgi-bin/sws_999.cgi?ID=DT_1IN0502&IDTYPE=3&A_LANG=1&FPUB=3&SELITEM=0. Retrieved on 2006-11-17.  This was the first official census in which Daegu's population was smaller than that of Incheon.
  3. YUM (Yeungnam University Museum). Siji-eui Munhwayujeok VIII: Chwirakji Bonmun [Cultural Sites of Siji VIII: Settlement Site Text]. Research Report No. 33. Yeungnam University Museum, Gyeongsan, 1999b.
  4. YICP (Yongnam Institute of Cultural Properties). Daegu Dongcheon-dong Chwirak Yujeok [The Settlement Site at Dongcheon-dong, Daegu]. 3 vols. Research Report of Antiquities, Vol. 43. YICP, Daegu, 2002. ISBN 89-88226-41-0
  5. Lee (1984), p. 76 and Shin (1999).
  6. Lee (1984) and Shin (1999) both make this assumption.
  7. FPCP (Foundation for the Preservation of Cultural Properties). Daegu Chilgok Sam Taekji Munhwayejeok Balguljosa Bogoseo [Excavation Report of the Cultural Site at Localities 2 and 3, Building Area 3, Chilgok, Daegu]. 3 vols. Antiquities Research Report 62. FPCP, Gyeongju, 2000.
  8. YUM (Yeungnam University Museum). Siji-eui Munhwayujeok VIII: Chwirakji Bonmun [Cultural Sites of Siji VIII: Settlement Site Text]. Research Report No. 33. Yeungnam University Museum, Gyeongsan, 1999b.
  9. Lee (1984), p. 131.
  10. Lee (1984), p. 149.
  11. Lee (1984), p. 294.
  12. Lee (1984), p. 302.
  13. Lee (1984), p. 343.
  14. Lee (1984), p. 377.
  15. Green Left - Features: HISTORICAL FEATURE: The Korean War - a war of counter-revolution
  16. Lee (1984), p. 384.
  17. Cumings (1997), pp. 243-244.
  18. Nahm (1996), p. 379.
  19. http://asis.rda.go.kr/
  20. "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Daegu, South Korea". Weatherbase. 2007. http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weatherall.php3?s=471430&refer==&units=metric. 
  21. http://www.knu.ac.kr/

Further reading

  • Cumings, Bruce. Korea's place in the sun: A modern history. New York: W.W.Norton. ISBN 0-393-31681-5. 
  • Daegu-Gyeongbuk Historical Society (대구-경북역사연구회). 역사 속의 대구, 대구사람들 (Yeoksa sok-ui Daegu, Daegu saramdeul) (Daegu and its people in history). Seoul: Jungsim. ISBN 89-89524-09-1. 
  • Lee, Ki-baik (1984). A new history of Korea, rev. ed. Tr. by E.W. Wagner and E.J. Shultz. Seoul: Ilchogak. ISBN 89-337-0204-0. 
  • Nahm, Andrew C. (1996). Korea: A history of the Korean people, 2nd ed.. Seoul: Hollym. ISBN 1-56591-070-2. 
  • Shin, Hyeong-seok (신형석). (1999). 통일신라의 새로운 수도가 될 뻔했던 대구 (Tongilsilla-ui saeroun sudo-ga doel ppeonhaetteon Daegu) (Daegu, which almost became the new capital of Unified Silla). In Daegu-Gyeongbuk Historical Society, ed., pp. 78-91.*
  • Lee, Jungwoong (이정웅) (1993). 팔공산을 아십니까 (About Mt. Palgong). Daegu: 그루. ISBN 2000752000813. 
  • Lee, Jungwoong (이정웅) (2000). 대구가 자랑스러운 12가지 이유. Seoul: 북랜드. ISBN 89-7787-158-1. 
  • Lee, Jungwoong (이정웅) (2006). 푸른 대구 이야기. Daegu: 그루. ISBN 89-8069-138-6. 

See also

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