Introduction to Gyeongsangnam-do

Gyeongsangnam-do, which is also known as South Gyeongsang Province in English, is located in the southeastern corner of South Korea. Gyeongsangnam-do has the second largest provincial population at 3.448 million, and it’s the fourth largest province according to area. To the west of the province is Jeollanam-do and Jeollabuk-do. To the north is Gyeongsangbuk-do. And Gyeongsangnam-do also borders the cities of Daegu to the north, Ulsan and Busan to the east. To the south lies the Korea Strait.

The name of the province is derived from the combination of Gyeongju and Sangju, which were two prominent cities during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Before 1895, the area of southern Gyeongsang Province was part of Gyeongsang Province, which was one of the Eight Provinces of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty. In 1895, the southern part of Gyeongsang was replaced by the district administration of Jinju in the west and Dongnae (modern Busan) in the east. This was short lived, because in 1896, these areas were merged to form Gyeongsangnam-do. During Japanese Colonization (1910-1945), Gyeongsangnam-do was called Keishonan-do.

Originally, the capital of Gyeongsangnam-do was Jinju. The capital moved in 1925 to Busan. In 1963, Busan separated from Gyeongsangnam-do and became a Directly Governed City. And in 1983, Changwon became the capital of Gyeongsangnam-do. In total, Gyeongsangnam-do is divided into 8 cities and 10 counties. The largest of these 8 cities is Changwon at around 1.1 million people. And the smallest of these cities is Miryang at around 110,000. As for the counties, the largest is Haman at 70,000, and the smallest is Uiryeong at just over 31,000. Economically, the province is known for tourism, the auto industry, and agriculture.

According to a 2005 census, the largest religious demographic in Gyeongsangnam-do are the irreligious at 45.2%. This is followed closely by Buddhism at 40%. The third largest group is Christianity at 14.8% (Protestant 8.8% and Catholic at 6%).

Gyeongsangnam-do is home to some of the greatest and most historically significant temples in Korea. These temples include Haeinsa Temple and the Tripitaka Koreana, Tongdosa Temple and the Buddha’s remains, and the scenic Ssanggyesa Temple in Hadong. Below are even more amazing Buddhist temples in Gyeongsangnam-do.

Gyeongsangnam-do Temples

  1. 1. Tongdosa Temple – 통도사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 10/10
  2. 2. Haeinsa Temple – 해인사 (Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do): 10/10
  3. 3. Ssanggyesa Temple – 쌍계사 (Hadong, Gyeongsangnam-do): 9/10
  4. 4. Pyochungsa Temple – 표충사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8.5/10
  5. 5. Gwanryongsa Temple – 관룡사 (Changnyeong, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8.5/10
  6. 6. Sinheungsa Temple – 신흥사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8.5/10
  7. 7. Seoamjeongsa Temple – 서암정사 (Hamyang, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8.5/10
  8. 8. Ilbungsa Temple – 일붕사 (Uiryeong, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8.5/10
  9. 9. Munsuam Hermitage – 문수암 (Goseong, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8.5/10

10. Boriam Hermitage – 보리암 (Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8/10

11. Singwangsa Temple – 신광사 (Geoje-do, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8/10

12. Mitaam Hermitage – 미타암 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8/10

13. Cheontaesa Temple – 천태사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8/10

14. Cheonggoksa Temple – 청곡사 (Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8/10

15. Yeoyeojeongsa Temple – 여여정사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do): 8/10

  1. 16. Hongryongsa Temple – 홍룡사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 7.5/10
  2. 17. Cheonbulsa Temple – 천불사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 7.5/10
  3. 18. Seonjisa Temple – 선지사 (Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do): 7/10
  4. 19. Ssangmireuksa Temple – 쌍미륵사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 6.5/10
  5. 20. Haeseonam Hermitage – 해선암 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do): 6/10
  6. 21. Bokcheonjeongsa Temple – 복천정사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 6/10
  7. 22. Hongjeam Hermitage – 홍제암 (Hapcheon, Gyeongsangnam-do): 6/10
  8. 23. Seongdeokam Hermitage – 성덕암 (Masan, Gyeongsangnam-do): 6/10