The City of Light

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.


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News & Events

Special Evening Admission to Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung Palace

Experience Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of the most famous landmarks in Seoul in a new way! Gyeongbokgung Palace will be holding a special evening admission event starting from April 29 until November 3rd, 2019. Walking under the moonlight visitors will be able to immerse themselves in Korean history and be transported back to the Chosun dynasty. You can only get this feeling of serenity nighttime so don't miss this special offer. This event is not only popular for foreigners but also among local Koreans every summer!    Event Period & Opening Hours    Period: Every 3rd and 4th week from April 29 to November 3 (Closed on Tuesdays) Last entry: 1 hour before closing April 29 - May 6 (Royal Culture Festival) (19:00-21:30) May 20 - June 2 (19:00-21:30) June 17 - 30 (19:30-22:00) July 22 - August 4 (19:30-22:00) September 16 - 29 (19:00-21:30) October 21 - November 3 (19:00-21:30)   Ticketing    Where to buy: Foreigners can buy a ticket on-site (limited up to 500 visitors per day, first come first serve, up to 4 tickets per person) Price: 3000 Won *Bring your passport to validate your foreign nationality*   * Free entry if you reserve online and wear Hanbok through the sites below (each site has 250 quotas for free entry ) - Also applicable for foreigners 1. Auction Ticket  2. Interpark Ticket   Or go in person and check out some nearby Hanbok rental shops such as Hanbok-nam or 3355 Hanbok if you wish to rent and wear Hanbok to Gyeongbokgung Palace.   Weather conditions  The event will continue even if it rains. Please bring your own umbrella.     

Apr 29, 2019 ~ Nov 3, 2019