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About Daegu


Daegu also known as Taegu, and officially the Daegu Metropolitan City, is the third largest metropolitan area in South Korea, and by city limits, the fourth largest city with over 2.5 million people. The city is also the capital and principal city of Gyeongsangbuk-do (simply Gyeongbuk), the province surrounding the city, although it is not legally part of the province. These two areas are often called Daegu-Gyeongbuk, and have a population of over 5 million.

The city is located in south-eastern Korea about 80km inside from seacoast, near the Geumho River and its mainstream Nakdong 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, and in the Joseon dynasty period, it was the capital of 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's-80's). Today, the city has become one of the major cities of the country and is making efforts to be the center of the fashion and high-tech industries. Due to its status as a cultural center, there are many nicknames for the city including "Apple's City", "Beauty's City", "Textile City", and "Fashion City".

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History

 

Daegu Daegu

When did human habitation in Daegu start? Ancient relics found in Daegu, such as non-striated pottery, are estimated to be made and used about 3,000 years ago. This makes us believe that collective human habitation started in Daegu around that time. The hills where such relics are found are assumed to be the residential areas of the prehistoric men. The emergence of Dalgubeol, the first tribal state in the Daegu area, was also on the hilly grounds. The tribe’s occupied low hills and built walls of earth mounds encompassing their residential area to defend against the invasions of other tribes. Dalseong Park, the oldest park in Daegu, was built on such an ancient residential fortress, Dalgubeol.

The first appearance of the name, Daegu, in history was in the period of King Gyeongdeok’s reign of the Silla Kingdom. It had been called Dalgubeol, Dalbulseong and Dalguhwahyeon by the local people and by the people in the country meaning the great plane or the great hill. This meaning and name transformed into Daegu which s expressed in the Chinese characters. The during title of Daegu as it is used today was officially confirmed in King Jeongjo’s period during the Joseon Dynasty. The delay of using the title was due to the letter “gu”(hill) because it has the same pronunciation and meaning of the name of the great founder of Confucianism, Gu of Gong gu(that is the Korean pronunciation of Chinese characters-Confu). The use of the name was a blaspheme to him.

That reflects a strong literary tradition of Confucianism in this area which has been very conservative and stubborn. Through the history of the Silla, Goryeo, and Joseon Dynasties, Daegu has grown greatly. Especially in the period of King Seonjo of the Joseon Dynasty (1601 AD), the governor’s office in the Gyeongsangdo Province (the whole area of the present Gyeongbuk and Gyeongnam Provinces) moved to Daegu from Andong, and that event has become the stepping stone for the city’s development for about 400 years. The governor’s office of the Gyeongsang Province (Gyeonsang-gamyeong), had had the authority to govern the administrative, judicial, military, and other general affairs of the region, and the city had grown as the third largest city in Korea by the beginning of the 20th century.

As you may know now, Daegu’s growth through its long history has developed its unique tradition and the pride of its citizens. During the period of the Joseon Dynasty, the city was known for its abundant high class human resources. During the modernization period of Korea, Daegu was one of the most active areas in educational movements, such as the founding of modern schools. During the Japanese colonial period, the National Debt Repayment Movement first started in Daegu to restore the sovereignty of the nation. During the Korean Conflict (1950-1953) Daegu was the final resistance line against the Communist intrusion and for restoring freedom in Korea.

Under the dictatorial oppression of the Lee Seung-man government, students of Daegu stood up for Democracy (Student Movement of February 28). In the 1960s and 70s Daegu had been the nation’s industrial and export base especially for textile goods. In the 1980s, the staple items of Daegu industry shifted to those of machinery, chemistry, and electronic goods. Recently, such high value added industries as precision machinery, cars, and info-communications industries are promoted and leading the economic activities on city. Especially, the Milano project is being promoted in the provision of the 21st century to become the Mecca of Asian textile industries in the late of 1990s. As of today, Daegu has a population of 2.54 million in the area of 885.7 Т. Daegu is the central city of the south-eastern part of the peninsula in politics, economy, administration, transportation and culture, and it is growing as one of the competitive economic powers in the world.

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Politics


There are two local governments in the city, the Daegu Metropolitan Government in Jung-gu and Gyeongbuk Provincial Government in Buk-gu. The provincial government will be relocated to Andong in its proper province, Gyeongbuk. The mayor and heads of city's eight districts are directly elected by the citizens every four years. The city council has twenty nine members which consist of twenty six from the same number of electoral districts and three proportional representations.

They are also directly elected every four years. Most of them are the members of the Grand National Party (Hannara-dang), the main conservative political party in South Korea. Daegu is the home to the party and has produced many Presidents of the Republic of Korea. As the capital of the Korean conservatives, the city has strong political power.

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

  • Jung-gu - means the central ward.
  • Dong-gu - means the east ward.
  • Seo-gu - means the west ward.
  • Nam-gu - means the south ward.
  • Buk-gu - means the north ward.
  • Suseong-gu
  • Dalseo-gu
  • Dalseong-gun

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Geography & Climate


Topography

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.

Climate

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 indicates 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.

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Sightseeing

Urban Zone Coast Zone Industrial Zone Hwawon Zone
Habin Zone Chilgok Zone Hyeonpung Zone Suseong Zone

Generally, Daegu is known as a conservative city. People from Daegu are seen as conservative, modest, and patient. As the largest city in the country beside Seoul not on a seacoast, and one of the major metropolitan areas in the nation, traits of Daegu residents in Korea are similar to those of Chicago in the United States, Birmingham in the United Kingdom, or Lyon in France. 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.

Sightseeing

The most well-known sight of the city is the stone Buddha called Gatbawi on the top of Gwanbong, Palgongsan. 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, Gyeongsan, Gyeongbuk.

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 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 and Daegu-hyanggyo remain. The main gateway of the city in that period called Yeongnam-jeilmun is restored in Mangudang Park, east of Daegu. 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 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 middle/high school and the KNU middle/high school, are famous too.

Yangnyeongsi 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. 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 of Hapcheon, Gyeongnam. The historic city of Gyeongju, Gyeongbuk, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla is located east of Daegu.

Mountains and parks

Palgongsan, Biseulsan, and Apsan are the representative mountains in Daegu ('-san' means mountain). Those serve as neighbour parks to citizens. 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, several small mountains and hills play a same role as it. Dalseong Park sits inside a 1500-year-old earth fortress. Duryu Park or Duryusan is a large forest in the middle of the urban area. It has an observatory, amusement park, and many sports facilities. Daegu Tower, also called Woobang Tower or Duryu Tower, is the tallest contemporary structure (202 m) and the symbol of today Daegu. It has an observatory commanding good views of the city. Woobang Land is 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.

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Downtown & Shopping

Shopping Shopping Shopping Shopping

Dongseongno is the downtown of Daegu lying from the Daegu Station to Jungang pachulso (central policebox) near the Banwoldang subway station in the center of the city 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 was situated along this street. The fortress, however, had been demolished in the early 20th century. Today, many shops and stores in the place, form the largest and the broadest downtown area not in the city, but in the whole country except the capital city, Seoul. In most cases, famous brands open their branch shop first here out of the Greater Seoul area.

Sub-downtowns in the city have its own commercial powers and colors. The area around the Seongseo Industrial Complex subway station in Dalseo-gu is a concentration of many amusement spots, and young people easily can be seen around Kyungpook National University in 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 among them gather at the downtown. Traditional markets such as Seomun Market, Chilseong Market, and Bangchon Market sell all sorts of goods.

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Transportation


Daegu Map

Rail

Daegu is the hub of the Korean inland railroad traffic. The main railroad station in the city, Dongdaegu Station has the second largest passenger traffic in Korea after Seoul Station and the largest train traffic.The station re-opened in 2004 after extensive renovations serves the KTX highspeed train, Saemaul and Mugunghwa trains.

All kinds of trains except KTX depart from Daegu Station, an all-new building with cinemas, restaurants and a department store, located near the city centre.

Urban rail

Also, there are two subway lines, and the third line is under construction as an elevated monorail. 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.

Road

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

Air

Daegu is served by Daegu Airport (international/domestic) located in northeastern Daegu.

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