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.

Gyeongsangbuk-do Temples

1. Buseoksa Temple- 부석사 (Yeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 10/10

2. Jikjisa Temple – 직지사 (Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 9.5/10

3. Unmunsa Temple – 운문사 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 9/10

4. Bogyeongsa Temple – 보경사 (Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 9/10

5. Gatbawi Shrine – 갓바위 (Gyeongsan, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8.5/10

6. Chunghyosa Temple – 충효사 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8.5/10

7. Manbulsa Temple – 만불사 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8.5/10

8. Bongjeongsa Temple – 봉정사 (Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

9. Gounsa Temple – 고운사 (Uiseong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

10. Eunhaesa Temple – 은해사 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

11. Yongmunsa Temple – 용문사 (Yecheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

12. Daewonsa Temple – 대원사 (Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

13. Geojosa Temple – 거조사 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

14. Songnimsa Temple – 송림사 (Chilgok, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

15. Bulyeongsa Temple – 불영사 (Uljin, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

16. Chukseosa Temple – 축서사 (Bonghwa, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

17. Namjangsa Temple – 남장사 (Sangju, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

18. Cheongamsa Temple – 청암사 (Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

19. Daeseungsa Temple – 대승사 (Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 8/10

20. Oeosa Temple – 오어사 (Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7.5/10

21. Gunwi Grotto (2nd Seokguram) – 군위 석굴 (제2 석굴암) (Gunwi, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7.5/10

22. Gimnyongsa Temple – 김룡사 (Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7.5/10

23. Simwonsa Temple – 심원사 (Seongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7.5/10

24. Daejeonsa Temple – 대전사 (Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7.5/10

25. Dorisa Temple – 도리사 (Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7.5/10

26. Jeseoksa Temple – 제석사 (Gyeongsan, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7/10

27. Beopheungsa-ji Temple Site – 법흥사지 (Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7/10

28. Ingaksa Temple – 인각사 (Gunwi, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7/10

29. Daedunsa Temple – 대둔사 (Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7/10

30. Daebisa Temple – 대비사 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7/10

31. Sudoam Hermitage – 수도암 (Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 7/10

32. Gwaneumseonwon Hermitage – 관음선원 (Sangju, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6.5/10

33. Jukjangsa Temple – 죽장사 (Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6.5/10

34. Bulgulsa Temple – 불굴사 (Gyeongsan, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6.5/10

35. Daeunam Hermitage – 대운암 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6/10

36. Five-Story Stone Brick Pagoda in Sanhae-ri – 산해리 오층모전석탑 (Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6/10

37. Baekheungam Hermitage – 백흥암 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6/10

38. Hancheonsa Temple – 한천사 (Yecheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 6/10

39. Unbuam Hermitage – 운부암 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 5.5/10

40. Yunpilam Hermitage – 윤필암 (Mungyeong, Gyeongsangbuk-do): 5/10

41. Five-Story Brick Pagoda in Unheung-dong, Andong: 4/10