South Korea has been one of the most popular destinations in the world after the international scene was swept up with their culture. But aside from K-pop, K-dramas, and their skincare, did you know that South Korea is also beloved for its rich historical and cultural sites?
Take Daegu, South Korea for example. A city that is walled by mountains and became one of the most influential cities in the history of South Korea, Daegu is one of the most must-visit places for people who want to experience what South Korea has to offer.
What would you like to know about Daegu, South Korea?
- A brief history of Daegu
- Sightseeing – 5 best historical sights in Daegu
- Accommodation – Where to stay?
- Transport – How to get there?
A Brief History of Daegu
In the long history of South Korea, Daegu played crucial roles in different aspects of the country. During the Joseon Dynasty, Daegu served as the administrative, cultural, and economic center of the entire Gyeongsang province.
Both local and foreign merchants thrived in the Daegu regular markets. One particular market that flourished until the present day is the Yangnyeongsi herbal market which became one of the main herbal trade centers in South Korea.
During the Japanese rule in Korea, Daegu was home to many independent movements against the Imperial rule of Japan. Daegu led the National Sovereignty Recovery Front in March 1919. This mass protest led to more uprisings and demonstrations which were the earliest recorded public display of resistance against Imperial Japan.
When South Korea gained its independence, Daegu became one of the main refugee centers in the county. Cultural leaders and local artists started a cultural rebirth that depicted the sorrows of the nation. This cultural rebirth eventually evolved to the Korean contemporary arts and culture that Daegu is known today.
5 Best Historical Sightseeing Places to Visit in Daegu, South Korea
In this travel guide, we’re going to lead you to the best sightseeing spots in Daegu, South Korea that will allow you to learn more about the rich culture and history of the city.
Here are our top picks:
1. Haeinsa Temple
The Hapchaeon Haeinsa Temple is one of South Korea’s three largest temples. This temple is located on Mount Gaya and hosts the Tripitaka Koreana, the world’s most complete collection of Buddhist texts.
The Tripitaka contains Buddhist laws, texts, and treaties that are all engraved on approximately 80,000 woodblocks that were made between 1237 and 1248.
A popular destination for scholars, pilgrims, and Buddhists, the Haeinsa Temple is also open to tourists who want to witness the delicate preservation of the texts and experience the centuries-long tradition of the religion.
2. Apsan Park
The largest urban-eco park in Daegu, Apsan is a mountain that is 600 meters high sandwiched between two others mountains, the Sanseongsan Mt. and Daedoksan Mt. Located just in the valley where the three mountains meet is the Apsan Park.
The Apsan park offers you a magnificent view of Daegu City. To get there, you can ride a cable car that runs for almost 800m from the bottom of Apsan. At the park, you can choose from any of their activities to participate in: horseback riding, archery, and even swimming.
For those who love hiking, the park contains three major trails that explore three adjacent mountains. Each trail has its own courses so you can pick which one fits your skill and schedule.
3. Yangnyeongsi Museum of Oriental Medicine
Founded in 1658, the Yangnyeongsi was one of the main herbal trading markets in South Korea and other nearby Asian countries. It was located by the north gate of the Daegu Castle but when it was destroyed during the Japanese colonization, it was rebuilt in its current spot.
Yangnyeongsi has two main parts: the wholesale herbal market and the museum of oriental medicine at the top. Aside from herbal shopping, you can try your hand at many programs available at Yangnyeongsi. They have a Practice Zone where you can learn about Asian medicine and even be guided into making your personal medicinal herb blend.
4. Kim Kwang-seok Street
Daegu’s history is shaped by activism and protests in many forms, mostly lead by artists and students. A prominent figure is Kim Kwang-Seok, the singer of a Korean activist folk band.
Kwang-Seok wrote many songs that showed the Korean’s sorrow and misery after the liberalization and the struggle of South Korea during its early stages of democracy. As a memorial, more than 20 local sculptors, artists, and designers created a mural alley in his honor and contribution to Korean culture.
His memorial features the artist with his guitar and a working phone that encourages you to make a call to your family and friends —an important message since Kwang-Seok died from suicide.
Shops, cafes, and restaurants are also located nearby.
5. Gyeongsang-gamyeong Park
The Gyeongsang-gamyeong Park used to be the office and residence of a governor during the Joseon Dynasty. Eventually, it was turned into a public park and the building was preserved to be able to be viewed by visitors.
A lot of locals and tourists go to Gyeongsang-gamyeong during Saturday afternoons from May to October to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Where to Stay in Daegu
Your accommodation at Daegu depends on what type of travel you are and the flow of your itinerary. We highly recommend staying in the City Center near Banwoldang Station or Jungangno Station if you want to experience the city life in Daegu.
The place is filled with many shopping districts and restaurants. Plus, there’s also the famous “Foreigner Street” where most foreign tourists and expats go during the night to drink and party.
With the convenience of having two major subway stations at your disposal, getting around the city is easy and fast.
Transport – How to go to Daegu
Going to Daegu is convenient thanks to the well-functional KTX high-speed trains in South Korea. The city of Daegu can be reached by the Dongbu line that runs from Seoul to Busan and vice versa.
KTX trains in the Dongbu line run on a schedule and are open daily. A train departs every 20 minutes from 5:30 AM to 10:10 PM. The train ride from Seoul to Daegu takes about an hour and 40 minutes.
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