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Gwangju Official known as Gwangju Metropolitan City is the sixth largest city in South Koreamarker. 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 Jeollamarker Province until the provincial office moved to the southern village of Namak in Muan Countymarker 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 Seoulmarker. 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 resulting in hundreds of civilians being killed by the Korean Military. 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").

Map Name Hangul Hanja

Gu (Districts)
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. 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 stations in the city: Gwangju Stationmarker and Songjeong-ri Stationmarker. Songjeong-rimarker has been connected to the subway network; however, no connection exists to Gwangju Station.

Gwangju Airportmarker and Muan International Airportmarker 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

Big cities of South Korea

See also


External links

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