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—  Metropolitan City  —
Gwangju Metropolitan City
 - Hangul 광주 광역시
 - Hanja 光州廣域市
 - Revised Romanization Gwangju-gwangyeoksi
 - McCune-Reischauer Kwangju-kwangyŏksi
Region Honam
Districts 5
 - Mayor Park Gwang-tae
 - Total 501.36 km2 (193.6 sq mi)
Population (2006)
 - Total 1,415,953
 - Density 2,824/km2 (7,314.1/sq mi)
 - Dialect Jeolla
Flower Royal Azalea
Tree Ginkgo
Bird Dove
Website: (English)

Gwangju Metropolitan City 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, hanja 光) means "light" and Ju (주, hanja 州) means "province."



The city was established in 57 BC, and has been a major political and economic centre of Korea ever since. It was one of the administrative centres of Baekje during the Three Kingdoms Period.

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

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.

In May 1980, civil 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. Most commentators agree that the suppression was characterized by its egregious brutality, including several incidents where military forces fired automatic weapons into crowds of unarmed demonstrators. Gwangju is sometimes called "the shrine of Korean democracy" because of this incident, which is known today as the Gwangju Democratization Movement. After civilian rule was reinstated, a national cemetery was established honoring the victims of the incident.


Administrative divisions

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

Name Hangul Hanja
Buk-gu 북구 北區
Dong-gu 동구 東區
Gwangsan-gu 광산구 光山區
Nam-gu 남구 南區
Seo-gu 서구 西區


Areas of exquisite scenery along the outskirts of the city gave birth to gasa, a form of Korean classical poetry.[citation needed] Located in the heart of the agricultural Jeolla region, the city is also famous for its rich and diverse cuisine.


Gwangju has one subway line. An extension to the line was completed in April 2008. There are also two KTX (high speed rail) stations in the city: Gwangju Station and Songjeong-ri Station. Songjeong-ri has been connected to the subway network; however, no connection exists to Gwangju Station.

Gwangju Airport and Muan International Airport serve Gwangju.


Chonnam National University, Chosun University, Honam University and Gwangju University are the major educational institutions in the city, with several other universities and colleges also located in the region.

Sister cities

See also

External links

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

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