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Daegu ( ), also known as Taegu, and officially called the Daegu Metropolitan City, is the third largest metropolitan area in South Koreamarker, and by itself, the fourth largest city with over 2.5 million people. The city forms its metropolitan area with some cities and counties in Gyeongsangbuk-domarker (simply called Gyeongbuk), the province surrounding the city. Daegu is also the capital and principal city of that province, although it is not legally part of the province. These two provinces are often called Daegu-Gyeongbuk, and have a population of over 5.2 million.

The city is located in south-eastern Korea, near the Nakdong River and Geumho River in Gyeongsang-do, also called the Yeongnam region. The Daegu basin, where the city lies, is the middle part and rare plain of that region. It made the city the region's center of politics, economy, and culture.

In ancient times, Daegu was a part of the Silla kingdom which unified the Korean Peninsula first. In the Joseon dynastymarker period, it was the capital of the Gyeongsang-do which was one of the eight provinces of the country. The city also was the home of the regimes in the period of South Korea's rapid economic growth (1960-80's). Today, the city becomes one of the major cities of Korea and is making efforts to be the center of the fashion and high-tech industries.


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. Dongcheon-dong is one of the substantial Mumun agricultural villages that have been excavated. 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 . 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. The vestiges of the wall at that time are seen, and then relics were excavated in the current Dalseong Park.


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 Gyeongjumarker to Daegu, but was unable to do so. 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. The city was given its current name in 757.

In the late 1990s archaeologists excavated a large scale fortified Silla site in Dongcheon-dong, Buk-gu. 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.

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 Goryeomarker.

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.

In the Goryeomarker period, the first edition of the Tripitaka Koreanamarker was stored in Daegu, at the temple of Buinsa. However, this edition was destroyed when the temple was sacked in 1254, during the Mongol invasions of Korea.


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 Jinjumarker.

In 1601, Daegu became the administrative capital of the Gyeongsang-do, which is current Daegu, Busanmarker, Ulsanmarker, Gyeongsangbuk-domarker, and Gyeongsangnam-domarker. At about that time, the city began to grow into the national major city. The status was continued for nearly three hundred years, then the city has been the capital of Gyeongsangbuk-do since Gyeongsang-do was divided into two provinces, Gyeongsangbuk-do (means the northern Gyeongsang-do) and Gyeongsangnam-do (southern) in 1896.

Daegu's first regular markets were established during the late Joseon period. The most famous of these 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. Seomun Market which stood at the city's west gate at that time, was one of the top three markets in the Joseon period.

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 Empress Myeongseong.

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. 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.

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. As the demise of the Korean Empiremarker 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.

After Japanese rule

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, 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. It was also the site of major demonstrations on February 28, 1960, prior to the fraudulent presidential election of that year.

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

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 separated from Gyeongsangbuk-do and became a separately administered provincial-level Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi), and was redesignated as a Metropolitan City (Gwangyeoksi) in 1995. Today, Daegu is the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Korea with respect to both population and commerce.

Administrative divisions

The 7 wards and 1 county of Daegu.

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


Daegu sits in a basin surrounded by low mountains. Palgongsan to the north, Biseulsan to the south, Waryongsan 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.


Daegu International Fashion Fair 2008
Daegu is the city of the manufacturing industry. The major industries are textiles, metals and machinery. The quality of the apples grown around the city is renowned around Korea. Many companies such as Daegu Bank, Korea Delphi, Hwasung corp., and TaeguTec are headquartered in this city, and Samsung and Cheil Industries were born here. Numerous factories are located in the industrial complex being to the west and north side of the city, including the Seongseo Industrial Complex, West Daegu Industrial Complex, Daegu Dyeing Industrial Complex, and so on.

The city is the core of the industrial area in Daegu-Gyeongbuk, one of the major industrial areas in Korea, which accounted for as many as 94 percent of Korea's trade surplus in 2006. The electronics industries in Gumimarker and the steel industries in Pohangmarker rendered great services to that surplus. The world's remarkable manufacturing factories like Anycall (Samsung Mobile) and POSCO's main factories are near the city. The city and its neighbouring cities were designated for the Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone by the central government in 2008. It is specialized in knowledge-based service and manufacturing industries.

Historically, Daegu has been the commercial center of the southern part of the Korean Peninsula with Seoulmarker in the middle and Pyeongyangmarker in the north (current North Koreamarker), because of its advantageous location. Some huge markets like Seomun Market are still doing a flourishing business.

Fashion industry

Beginning in the late 1990s, the city is actively making efforts to promote fashion industry based on its textile and clothing manufacturing industries under the 'Daegu:Fashion City'. The city set up relationship with Milanmarker, Italy in 1998 and chose the words, 'Colorful Daegu' as the city's slogan in 2006. The city opens many exhibitions related to the fashion or textile industries annually or half-yearly. A large new town specialized in the textile-fashion industries, is under construction in Bongmu-dong, northeastern Daegu. The district, officially called Esiapolis, takes aim at the fashion hub of East Asia. Textile complexes, textile-fashion institutions, an international school, fashion malls as well as residential areas plan to be developed here.

Culture and sightseeing

Generally, Daegu is known as the conservative city. People from Daegu are seen as consevative, modest, and patient. As the largest city that does not have the sea, except the national first city (mostly capital), and one of the major metropolitan areas in the nation, traits of Daegu in Korea are similar to those of Chicagomarker in United Statesmarker or Lyonmarker in Francemarker. Politically, the city is home of the conservatives.

Traditionally, Buddhism was strong; today there are still many temples. Confucianism was popular in Daegu, with a large academy based in the city. Neon cross-topped spires of Christian churches can also be seen in the city.


The most well-known sight of the city is the stone Buddha on the top of Gwanbong, Palgongsan, called Gatbawi. It is famous for its stone hat. People from all over the country visit the place, because they believe that the Buddha grants whosever one desire at least. Administratively, the site itself is located in the neighboring city, Gyeongsanmarker, Gyeongbukmarker.

Mountains, put around the urban area, keep many traditional and renowned temples like Donghwasa, Pagyesa, and Buinsa ('-sa' means temple). Donghwasa itself dates from the [[Silla]] period, as does the stupa of [[Minae of Silla|King Minae]]. Many artifacts of the Silla period are found around Donghwasa in northern Daegu. Those temples have played a role of rest places to citizen mentally and physically. As well as the temples, the old villages like the Otgol village (''Gyeongju Choi'' clan's original residence area) and the Inheung village (''Nampyeong Mun'''s) are in the suburbs. In the urban area, the [[Joseon Dynasty]]'s administrative or educational buildings including [[Gyeongsang-gamyeong]] (경상감영, 慶尙監營) and [[Daegu-hyanggyo]] (대구향교, 大邱鄕校) remain. The main gateway of the city in that period called [[Yeongnam-jeilmun]] (영남제일문, 嶺南第一門, means the first gateway in [[Yeongnam]]) is restored in Mangudang Park, east of Daegu. [[File:계산성당.jpg|150px|right|thumb|[[Gyesan Cathedral]]]] Westernstyle modern architectures like [[Gyesan Cathedral]] and the old building of Jeil Church are preserved in many places of the urban area. Gyesan Cathedral is the third oldest gothic church building in Korea{{cite web |url= |title=대구광역시 관광문화정보시스템 - 계산성당 |publisher=Daegu Metropolitan City |accessdate=2009-11-23 }} and the cathedral of the [[Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Daegu]] which is one of three archdioceses in South Korea. Several buildings, in the present Keisung high school and the [[Kyungpook National University|KNU]] high school, are famous too. [[Yangnyeongsi]] (약령시, 藥令市) in Namseongno (often called Yakjeon-golmok) is the oldest market for Korean medicinal herbs in the country with a history of 350 years. Bongsan-dong, which has some art galleries and studios, is being developed as the artistic center of the city since the 1990s. [[Daegu Tower]], also called Woobang Tower or Duryu Tower, is sitted on [[Duryusan]], the middle of the urban area. It is the tallest contemporary structure (202 meters high) and the symbol of today Daegu. It has an observatory commanding good views of the city. Nearby tourist attractions include [[Haeinsa]]—a [[Korean Buddhism|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 of [[Hapcheon]], [[Gyeongnam]]. The historic city of [[Gyeongju]], [[Gyeongbuk]], the capital of the ancient kingdom of [[Silla]] is located east of Daegu. ===Downtown and shopping=== [[File:동성로.jpg|left|thumb|[[Dongseongno]]]] [[Dongseongno]] (동성로, 東城路) is the downtown of Daegu lying from the [[Daegu Station]] to the central policebox (''Jungang pachulso'') near the Banwoldang subway station, in the center of the city [[Jung-gu, Daegu|Jung-gu]]. It has the Jungangno subway station as the nearest station from its heart. Like its name meaning the street in the east fortress, the eastern part of [[Daegu-eupseong]] (대구읍성, 大邱邑城, means the Daegu fortress) was situated along this street. The fortress had been demolished in the early 20th century. Today, many shops and stores in this place, form the largest and the broadest downtown area not in the city, but in the whole country except [[Seoul]]. In most cases, famous brands open the branch shop first here, out of the Seoul's metropolitan area.The Seoul Shinmun (2009-02-10) Sub-downtowns in Daegu have its own commercial powers and colors. Around the Seongseo Industrial Complex subway station in [[Dalseo-gu]] is a concentration of many amusement spots, and young people can be seen around [[Kyungpook National University]] in [[Buk-gu, Daegu|Buk-gu]]. Deuran-gil (means the street inside the field) in [[Suseong-gu]] is for many restaurants. The city has a number of department stores. Many of these belong to national or multinational chains, but the local [[Daegu Department Store]] also operates two branches, while another local chain, [[Donga Department Store]] operates four in the city proper. The six department stores of those gather at the downtown. Market places such as [[Seomun Market]], [[Chilseong Market]], and Bangchon Market sell all sorts of goods. ===Mountains and parks=== {{See also|List of parks in Daegu}} [[Palgongsan]], [[Biseulsan]], and [[Apsan]] are the representative mountains in Daegu ('-''san''' means mountain). Apsan, just in the south of the city, is the closest mountain from the urban area among the three. It has many trails, Buddhist temples, a Korean War museum, and a gondola ride to the peak. In the urban area, Dalseong Park sits inside a 1500-year-old earth fortress. Duryu Park or Duryusan has many sports facilities. It also has the Daegu Tower and the largest amusement park out of the capital area. Many small gardens in the heart of the city, such as the National Debt Repayment Movement Memorial Park (Gukchae bosang undong ginyeom gongwon) and 2·28 Park, are loved by people.


Lately, enthusiasm about opera and musical is growing in the city, and the local government is trying to meet its demand. Daegu International Opera Festival (DIOF), Daegu International Musical Festival (DIMF), and Daegu International Bodypainting Festival (DIBF) are three of the most famous festivals on each field in Korea, although those have short histories.

Various festivals in various themes like the Colorful Daegu Festival, Dongseongno festival, Palgongsan maple festival, Biseulsan azelea festival, Korea in Motion Daegu and so on, are held by the city, each ward, or the specific groups, all through the year.

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

International Daegu

Daegu hosts three Americanmarker military bases, Camp Walker, Camp Henry and Camp George, the latter which houses Daegu American School (primarily for children of military personnel). Camp George also houses most of the [Enlisted]ranked soldiers. Camp Henry serves as the primary place of work for all the military personnel. Camp Walker services as the home to Officer ranked soldiers Major and up. 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.


On March 27, 2007, the city was selected as the host city for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics. Daegu competed with cities such as Moscowmarker, Russiamarker and Brisbanemarker, Australia to earn the votes of the IAAF Council. This event in 2011 will be the first IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in the Asian mainland, and the city is great concerning about it now. Daegu also hosted the 2003 Summer Universiade and the part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

All the events were held and will be held in Daegu Stadiummarker, the second largest sports complex in South Korea, after Seoul Olympic Stadiummarker, as a seating capacity of 66,422.

Sports teams

Daegu is a home of Samsung Lions, a professional baseball club, which belongs to KBO.

Daegu is home to the KBL Basketball team Daegu Orions.

Daegu is also home to the K-League soccer club Daegu FC, one of the best citizen soccer teams in Korea.


Daegu is largely a homogeneous community that includes 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.

Education and institutions

Universities and colleges

There are many universities in Daegu, including Kyungpook National University. It was founded in 1946 and is one of the most recognized and highly ranked national universities in Korea. Yeungnam University, located in the nearby city Gyeongsan, is one of the most prestigious private universities in Korea outside of the Seoul, along with Keimyung University. Daegu National University of Education is also highly reputed, as a national university of education. There are some smaller post-secondary institutions such as Daegu University, Catholic University of Daegu and many technical and professional colleges.

List of universities in and around Daegu

Other uninversities and colleges include

Medical institutions

The medical industries in Daegu are somewhat developed considering that the city is not the national capital city like Seoulmarker. The yearly treatment amount of the medical care institutions in Daegu is the second largest in South Korea after that of Seoul. Its amount is more than Busanmarker and Incheonmarker whose population is more than the city. The Kyungpook National University Hospital, founded as Daegu-dongin-uiwon in 1907, is the representative medical care institution in the city. The Dongsan Medical Center (attached to Keimyung University), founded as Jejungwon in 1899, is one of the oldest western medical care institutions in Korea. In 2009, the city was chosen for Cheomdan-uiryo-bokhap-danji (means the high-tech medical complex of Korea) and will be supported by the Korean government.

List of the major medical care institutions in Daegu

  • Kyungpook National University Hospital (at Jung-gu)
  • Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center (at Jung-gu)
  • Yeungnam University Medical Center (at Nam-gu)
  • Daegu Catholic University Medical Center (at Nam-gu)
  • Daegu Fatima Hospital (at Dong-gu)


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 Airportmarker (international/domestic) located in northeastern Daegu, and also by the KTX highspeed train at Dongdaegu Stationmarker, 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 natives

Former President Roh Tae-woo, First Lady Kim Ok-sook, politician Park Geun-hye, Daewoo Group founder Kim Woo-jung, Samsung Group former chairman Lee Kun-hee, and actress Son Ye-jin were all born in Daegu.

Many young entertainers such as Shinee's Key and 2PM's Junsu were also born in this city.

Sister cities

Big cities of South Korea

See also


  1. This romanization of the city's name is in McCune-Reischauer. It was used prior to the official adoption of the Revised Romanization by the South Korean Government in 2000.
  2. After Seoul, Busan, and Incheon. The 2005 census first found that Incheon's population was larger than the Daegu's. Still, the city is considered as one of the top three cities in South Korea, because Incheon is a part of the Seoul's metropolitan area.
  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. Lee (1984), p. 131.
  9. Lee (1984), p. 149.
  10. Lee (1984), p. 294.
  11. Lee (1984), p. 302.
  12. Lee (1984), p. 343.
  13. Lee (1984), p. 377.
  14. Green Left - Features: HISTORICAL FEATURE: The Korean War - a war of counter-revolution
  15. Lee (1984), p. 384.
  16. Cumings (1997), pp. 243-244.
  17. Nahm (1996), p. 379.
  19. The Yeongnam Ilbo (2007-03-17)
  20. The Chosun Ilbo (2009-11-25)
  21. The official English web sites of DIOF, DIMF, and DIBF

Further reading

  • 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.*

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