Introduction to Chungcheongbuk-do
Chungcheongbuk-do, which is also known as North Chungcheong Province in English, is a central province in South Korea. It is one of eight provinces that make up the country. Chungcheongbuk-do is the only landlocked province in Korea. Chungcheongbuk-do has a total population of 1,632,000 as of 2021, which makes it the third smallest province based on population. Most of this population is concentrated in the capital of Chungcheongbuk-do in Cheongju, which boasts a total population of 846,291. Additionally, Chungcheongbuk-do is the second smallest province based on area ahead of Jeju-do.
Chungcheongbuk-do was first established in 1896 with the division of Chungcheong-do Province. During Japanese Colonization, Chungcheongbuk-do was known as Chuseo-hoku from 1910 to 1945. Chungcheongbuk-do borders Gyeonggi-do to the northwest, Gangwon-do to the northeast, Jeollabuk-do to the southwest, Gyeongsangbuk-do to the east, and Chungcheongnam-do to the west. The province is mostly mountainous with the Noryeong Mountains to the north and the Sobaek Mountains to the east. In fact, and because of its mountainous geography, there are four National Parks in Chungcheongbuk-do. They are Woraksan, Songnisan, Deogyusan, and Sobaeksan.
In total, Chungcheongbuk-do is divided into three cities, which are known as “si” in Korean, and 8 counties, which are known as “gun.” Besides the capital of Cheongju, which is the largest, the second largest city in the province is Chungju (208,000). The third largest is Jecheon (137,612). After these three cities, the population of the remaining counties drops off with the largest being Eumseong-gun with a population of 92,581. The smallest of these counties is Danyang-gun with a population of 31,334.
Like most other provinces and cities in Korea, the largest religious demographic is the irreligious at 59.5%. The second largest religious group is Christianity at 23.1% (15.8% Protestant and 7.3% Catholic). The third largest religious group is that of Buddhism with a 16.3% population. And finally, the fourth largest group at 0.7% are those that follow other religions like shamanism.
Despite Chungcheongbuk-do being small in size and area, the province boasts of two very important temples: Beopjusa Temple and Guinsa Temple. Beopjusa Temple is one of the ten most important temples in the country, while Guinsa Temple is the headquarters to the Cheontae-jong Order (the third largest Buddhist Order in Korea). In addition to these two temples, there are a number of other important temples spread throughout the rest of the province. Here is a list below of a sample of those great Chungcheongbuk-do Buddhist temples.
- 1. Beopjusa Temple – 법주사 (Boeun-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do): 10/10
- 2. Botapsa Temple – 보탑사 (Jincheon, Chungcheongbuk-do): 8/10
- 3. Guinsa Temple – 구인사 (Danyang, Chungcheongbuk-do): 7.5/10
- 4. Yeongguksa Temple – 영국사 (Yeongdong, Chungcheongbuk-do): 7.5/10
- 5. Yongamsa Temple – 용암사 (Okcheon, Chungcheongbuk-do): 7/10
- 6. Yonghwasa Temple – 용화사 (Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do): 7/10
- 7. Mireukdaewon-ji Temple Site – 미륵대원 (Chungju, Chungcheongbuk-do): 7/10
- 8. Ansimsa Temple – 안심사 (Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do): 7/10
- 9. Sujeongam Hermitage – 수정암 (Boeun-gun, Chungcheongbuk-do): 5/10