Introduction to Gyeongsangbuk-do
Gyeongsangbuk-do, which is also known as North Gyeongsang Province in English, is located in the mid-eastern part of South Korea. Gyeongsangbuk-do is the second largest province based on area, and it’s the third largest, at 2.7 million people, based on population. Gyeongsangbuk-do is surrounded on the west by Jeollabuk-do and Chungcheongbuk-do, and to the north lies Gangwon-do. To the east of Gyeongsangbuk-do’s borders is the East Sea.
Gyeongsangbuk-do was first formed in 1896 with the splitting of the former Gyeongsang province in half. During Japanese Colonization (1910-1945), Gyeongsangbuk-do was known as Keishohoku-do. And after colonization, with the formation of South Korea in 1945, Gyeongsangbuk-do would become a part of the new country. From 1896 to 1981, Daegu was the capital of Gyeongsangbuk-do. And in 2016, Andong would become the capital of the province replacing Daegu.
Gyeongsangbuk-do is divided into 10 cities and 13 counties. The largest of the cities is Pohang with a population of 519,000. And the smallest of the province’s cities is Mungyeong at nearly 76,000 people. As for the counties, the largest is Chilgok, which neighbours Daegu, at 120,000 people. And the smallest county in the province is Ulleung at 10,500.
Rather interestingly, the name of the province is an amalgamation of Gyeongju and Sangju, which were two important cities during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Gyeongsangbuk-do is one of the hotter provinces in Korea because of the plains around Daegu and the Taebaek Mountains in the east and the Sobaek Mountains in the west that insulate the province. Economically, Pohang is the Korean hub for steel production, while Gumi is known as the capital of electronics not only in Gyeongsangbuk-do but in Korea.
Religiously, and like much of Korea, Gyeongsangbuk-do is irreligious with a population 55.4%. The second largest demographic is Buddhism at 25.3%. And the third largest demographic is Christianity at 18.5% (13.3% Protestant and 5.2% Catholic).
If you exclude Gyeongju, which is covered on a separate page on this site, even though it does in actual fact belong to Gyeongsangbuk-do, you still come up with some of Korea’s most famous and beautiful temples. Some these Gyeongsangbuk-do temples are the world famous Buseoksa Temple, the beautiful Jikjisa Temple, and Unmunsa Temple in Cheongdo. When visiting Gyeongsangbuk-do, you certainly won’t be without temple options. The province is one of the riches, if not the riches, areas in Korea for historic temples. Below is a sample of these amazing Buddhist sites.