Gwangju is the regional hub of Korea’s southwest region of Jeolla-do, a medium-sized city of about 1.5 million people defined by the tragic events of the Gwangju Uprising and famous for what is considered to be the best cuisine in all of Korea. Protests against Korea’s military dictatorship on May 18th, 1980 snowballed into a citywide uprising calling for democratic elections but was ultimately brutally crushed by the military, with hundreds of people killed and thousands more imprisoned and tortured. The uprising on May 18th, 1980 has since been designated an official day of remembrance, and Gwangju is now widely known as the “City of Democracy and Human Rights”. The film “A Taxi Driver” is centered around the events of the Gwangju Uprising, and broke multiple box office records in Korea when it was released in 2017.
Numerous memorials and museums pay homage to the Gwangju Uprising across the city, such as the May 18th National Cemetary in Mangwol-dong, 5.18 Liberty Park in Sangmu, and the May 18th National Archive in Geumnam-ro, the site of some of the uprising’s worst violence. The legacy of the Gwangju Uprising is still strong, and the vast majority of its inhabitants lean to the left politically. But while the city continues to enshrine and memorialize the tragic events of May 18th, it has also sought to assert itself as a city of the arts, with the construction of the Gwangju Biennale in 1995 and the Asia Culture Center in 2015. Both institutions regularly host exhibitions of famous Korean and international artists, as well as films and various performances. The Asia Culture Center has a massive arts library and Asian Art Archive that’s open to the public. Gwangju is also known as a baseball city, producing former major leaguers such as Kim Byung-Hyun and Kang Jung-Ho, and its Kia Tigers baseball team is a point of pride for the local citizens. Its home stadium, Kia Champions Field, is one of the top ballparks in the entire country.
Jeolla-do has long been known as the “breadbasket of Korea” due to its abundance of arable land, and Gwangju’s importance as Jeolla-do’s largest city has allowed it to develop what is arguably the nation’s best cuisine. Oritang, a duck stew cooked in a delicious, thick broth, Tteokgalbi, grilled patties of minced beef short ribs, Heukyeomsotang, a hearty goat stew, Sangchu twigim, various deep fried goodies wrapped in lettuce, Boribap, barley rice mixed with various vegetables and sauces, and Hongeo, fermented skate with a very strong smell and taste, define the delectable cuisine of Gwangju and its surrounding metropolitan area, with few restaurants serving this type of cuisine outside its city limits.
Gyeongju UNESCO World Heritage Site Tour [From Busan]
Ganghwa Island Cultural Tour, Pyeonghwa Observatory, Luge Ride
Korean Folk Village, Uiwang Railbike, OOZOO Light Garden Group Tour
News & Events
Busan Fireworks Festival (부산 불꽃축제)
Busan Firework Festival
The Busan Fireworks Festival takes place every fall season along Gwangalli Beach. The festival’s diverse programs of cultural events, high-tech laser light shows, and myriad of unique and colorful fireworks make this one of Busan's most popular festivals, drawing crowds of over 1 million visitors each year. Although people flock to the beach for a closer view of the festivities, nearby Hwangnyeongsan Mountain, Dongbaekseom Island, and Igidae Coastal Park also offer great views of the fireworks. Cost: Free (Separate fees may apply to some activities) Transportation: Geumnyeonsan Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 1 & 3. Gwangan Station (Busan Subway Line 2), Exit 3 or 5.
The Palace: Jang Nok-su Jeon Performance
September 18th, 2019 3:30pm - 5:30pm Venue: Jeongdong Theater "The Palace: Jang Nok-su-jeon” is the story of dangerous Cinderella in Joseon Dynasty. Jeong Dong Theater is offering the unique performance which is story-telling drama presented through Korean dance, without any speech. The brief story of the main scene will be shown on the screen (Korean/English/Japanese/Chinese subtitles). Before the performance, participants will have a Janggu class and have a chance to learn how to play a traditional Korean instrument, Janggu, which will be also used in the performance. Jungmyung Jeon is a historical building of Deoksu palace. Participants can visit the place freely during the waiting time. Schedule: 3:00 – 3:30pm : Traditional Korean instrument, “Janggu” experience 3:30 – 4:00pm : Visiting Jungmyung Jeon of Deoksu palace(optional) 4:00 – 5:30pm : Non-verbal performance Jang Nok-Soo This class is sponsored by Jeongdong Theater and is FREE-OF-CHARGE exclusively for Itaewon GVC participants! Pre-registration is required. You can sign up in person or by email only. (Only foreigners can join this program.) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KB Rapbeat Festival 2019
September 28th, 2019 KB Rapbeat Festival is back! This year it will be held in Seoul Land, Korea’s first amusement park. Enjoy the performances of one of the best line ups in the hip hop genre and have fun at an amusement park at the same time! Not only will the hottest hip hop artists be performing, but there will be performances by the underground rappers as well. So don’t miss out on this awesome festival and get ready to enjoy a wild experience! | Line-up: Beenzino, E-Sens, The Quiett, Zico, Zion-T, Dean, Loopy, NAFLA, Paloalto, Heize, DeepFlow, Nucksal and more!