Gwangju Blog

Learn About the Gwangju-born Legendary Music Composer, Jeong Yul-seong at Sites Across the City


Traces of Jeong Yul-seong, a legendary composer in China who was born in Gwangju 100 years ago, will be available through QR codes across the city this year.

As part of the “China-friendly Project” aimed at helping domestic and international visitors in Gwangju, the city has announced a plan to install a number of QR codes to make information regarding the historical and cultural heritages of Jeong available at sites throughout the city.

Through QR codes, which automatically connect to online pages when scanned by a smartphone QR reader, various video and other information about sites associated with Jeong will be available.

Video clips about Jeong will include information on Gwangju as Jeong’s birthplace and how his heritage has been preserved for 100 years. The videos will feature heritage spots in Bulo-dong and Yangrim-dong, as well as nearby Hwasun-gun district where Jeong was raised.

Jeong made himself known through various songs related to rebellion against the Japanese occupation of East Asian nations, including his own country, Korea.

Famous songs such as “Yeongahnsong” and “Eight Route Army March,” as well as “Yeonsuyo” were used for the 1990 Beijing Asian Games Opening Ceremony and the 2000 Summit Meeting between the South and North Korean leaders, Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jeong-il.

Born in Gwangju in 1914, Jeong Yul-seong moved to China when he was 18 years old and became one of the three most important musical composers in the country.

More detailed information about the QR codes for Jeong Yul-seong is available on the official webpage of the city of Gwangju at

News of the Week: January 29, 2015

Outdoor Skating Rink Used by 50,000 Skaters in Gwangju in One Month since Opening

The city of Gwangju has announced that the total number of visitors to the outdoor skating rink located outside of Gwangju City Hall at its culture square surpassed the 50,000 mark in the one month period since its opening on December 24th last year.

More than 53,000 visitors stopped by the outdoor skating rink last Friday since the opening of the rink and an average of 3,000 skaters visit the skating rink on weekends with an average of 1,000 citizens visiting the rink on weekdays.

In the midst of the continuous popularity of the ice skating rink, the number of citizens who visit city hall to take advantage of the free bicycles and other exercise activities provided by the city hall has also grown.

The city’s first ice skating rink is in operation from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday with extended operation hours running from Friday to Sunday to 9:30 p.m.

Free lessons for skating are also offered on every Monday, Thursday and Saturday with the rink scheduled to be opened until February 15th.


Gwangju to Operate ‘China Friendly’ Policy

The city of Gwangju will officially begin its operation of ‘China Friendly’ Policy from this week.

The city will sign a Memorandum of Understanding this Friday at Gwangju City Hall that pledges to establish a ‘China Friendly Support Center’ at Honam University.

The China Friendly Center is a civil complaint resolution center, which will help solve problems and inconveniences experienced by Chinese students studying in Gwangju and multicultural families, as well as Chinese tourists.

The city of Gwangju previously established an integrative plan comprised of 6 strategies and 18 detailed project plans for ‘China Friendly’ policies aimed at transforming Gwangju into a favored city for Chinese students and tourists.

In cooperation with Hunan University in China, the China Friendly Support Center at Honam University, which features a Gongja Academy supported by the Educational Ministry in China, will offer 24 hour phone counseling for Chinese students and emergency assistance for problems with accommodations, food and traffic information.

Meanwhile, the total number of Chinese tourists to Gwangju came in at 57,000 in 2013, a mere 1.4 percent of the nationwide figures. But city officials expect that a series of international events to be staged in the city, such as the Universiade and the opening of the Asian Culture Complex, will result in a surge of Chinese travelers to the city this year.


Opening of Honam KTX to be Postponed to April

Opening of the Honam Express railway or Honam KTX linking Osong of North Chungcheong province and Gwangju Songjeong station will be postponed from the scheduled March to April this year.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said the exact opening date of the much-anticipated Honam KTX would be in early April.

Authorities believe the postponement is due to disagreement over the final destination station and routes from Osong to Songjeong. In particular, there have been disputes over including Seodaejeon station on top of the already existing Daejeon station.

Korea Railroad Corporation previously submitted the operation plan for the 82 train routes of the Honam and Jeolla KTX to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Some 22 percent of these are scheduled to stop at Seodaejeon station.

Dispute over the schedule continues because if Seodaejeon station is included in the route, the total travel time between Seongjeong in Gwangju and Osong will be delayed by 45 minutes.


Tuition Fees for Major Universities in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo to Remain Same or be Reduced

Major universities in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo, including Jeonam National University and Joseon University, have cut or frozen tuition fees for the 2015 academic year.

Jeonam National University held a school tuition screening meeting yesterday at its university headquarters and decided to freeze the tuition fees for the upcoming academic year.

Joseon University, where school tuition fees have either remained the same or been reduced since 2012, also revealed its plan to freeze the tuition fees.

Gwangju University will cut tuition fees by 0.3 percent to minimize burdens on students and parents.

Having cut tuition fees for the students since 2009, Honam University will reduce the figures once again by 0.24 percent while investing 9.5 billion won for school scholarships and educational activities.

Other universities that have cut tuition fees include Mokpo University and Gwangju University of Education.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Orzo

Finding cheap Western restaurants for dinner can sometimes be a tricky feat. Finding an affordable Italian spot in the middle of downtown Gwangju? Some would laugh at the attempt alone. Thanks to a new restaurant that opened fairly recently, what was once unheard of has now become a convenient reality.


Gracing the spot of what I’m sure once used to be a Vietnamese restaurant is now Orzo Pizza & Pasta. Sharing real estate with make up shops, this place sits in the middle of one of the busier streets in the downtown area. Being the curious glutton that I am, I recently went for a visit with my favorite dining partner.

Upon entry, I immediately took note of the quiet space that had been color coded to have an oddly Greek theme (in my opinion). Since the restaurant was mostly empty, we went for a window spot that let us people watch over the course of our meal. Once we were seated, I looked over the plain looking menu. Due to the lack of pictures or English translations, it took a little time for me to read out the Konglish names for most of the dishes. The options had been divided up into sections consisting of pizza and a number of different pastas, and instead of offering the usual meats, many of the dishes featured either mushrooms, seafood, or bacon. I also noticed the prices, which didn’t seem to go above 11,000 won. When it came time to make a decision, we went for the Garlic Pizza, the Amatriciana, and the Carbonara.

MenuBread & Pickles

After we placed our order, our waitress brought out some pickles, bread, and a small amount of dipping sauce. Though my beau polished off the pickles pretty quick (he’s a sucker for them), I found myself a bit unimpressed by the thin slices of bread and the scant amount of what I assume was balsamic glaze that had been topped with a touch of olive oil. As I nibbled away, I feared that I had made a mistake in choosing this place for dinner, slowly beginning to dread what came next. Then, the pizza arrived.

Garlic PizzaCarbonara

The Garlic Pizza, which turned out to be an unassuming combination of thin pizza dough, a touch of tomato sauce, cheese, and roasted garlic cloves, was much better than I thought it would be. While I initially worried that the whole pieces of garlic would be too pungent, they had been roasted enough to give off that smooth, sweet flavor that could only be obtained with properly roasted garlic. Though there was barely any sauce on the pizza, the balance of ingredients helped highlight the true star of the dish. The next to arrive was the Carbonara pasta. As is the case with many similar dishes in Korea, the sauce was less egg and cheese (as is traditionally made) and more flavored milk and cream that had been topped with bacon and mushrooms. That being said, as much as I wanted to dislike it, the seasonings had been done well enough for to me to enjoy this part of our meal far more than I thought I would.

Pasta PieAmatriciana

As we worked on our pizza and cream pasta, the Amatriciana made its appearance. Though I had been expecting pasta in tomato sauce with cheese, bacon, and mushrooms, I was surprised to see that had been baked with some sort of pastry crust. Once it arrived at our table, our waitress took a knife and cut through and around it to make for easy eating and decent presentation. Though the wait was mildly awkward, the gesture was appreciated. The end result? It was like a present had been opened, and inside was gooey cheese and pasta. My beau seemed to enjoy this dish quite a bit. As for me, I wasn’t crazy about the unique, yet doughy crust. The pasta itself was decent, but nothing too special in regards to taste and texture.


Towards the end of our meal, we were surprised with a free dessert-like dish from the chef as service. Though I’m not sure if what we received had a name or was even available on the menu, it was quite unique, to say in the least. The dish consisted of flaky, almost buttery pieces of baked dough that had been topped with cherry tomatoes, powdered sugar, and some parsley flakes. Growing up in America, I still haven’t gotten over the fact that tomato is a fruit and does not always need to be used in savory dishes. Though awkward, the dish was still pleasant in a very unique way.

Overall, Orzo ended up being a decent and quiet place for dinner. I could see the cheap prices and simple dishes being a draw for both Korean and expat diners who may be in the mood for a date on a budget. Due to the small kitchen size, I personally wouldn’t recommend this restaurant to large groups of four or more.

Address: 광주 동구 충장로2가 14 (located by the post office)
Phone: 062-229-8200
Hours: 11:00AM to 9:00PM
Average Price Range: 8,900 to 11,000 per dish

Essentials with JD # 173 **SHOPPING FOR FLIGHTS**


There is something about winter that makes one yearn for the summer sun. The lure of distant lands and an amazing time. Sipping cocktails on the beach. Sadly the same cannot be said for summer holidays and yearning for winter times. Well in my opinion anyways. But as most people return to Korea after a short break , they are already looking forward to their next trip.

But one major force standing in the way is of course that lovely budget which you have just spent in the past couple of weeks.

Wish you could find cheaper tickets all the time? Think that you already know where to find them? Well how about trying the largest search engine in the world. Just type in and begin the journey to find some of the best and cheapest tickets out there. And often the site also offers great packages to far off destinations to make your life even easier.

Scanning major airlines from around the globe this search has brought in cheaper results for the same flights when compared to other leading flight search sites. Try it and see.

Check it out and start possibly planning for Seollal or even summer vacation.


Gwangju Surroundings

Dolmen at the Hwasun site. Photo by Joe Wabe

Dolmen at the Hwasun site. Photo by Joe Wabe

Just 25 minutes south east of Gwangju, in Hwasun county, lays a historical treasure: The Hwasun Dolmens Site. This treasure from the Bronze Age was one of the sites designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2000. Korea is said to contain more than 40% of the world’s dolmen, which are mostly concentrated in these three sites.

These dolmens are also located on the slopes of hills and follow the Jiseokgang river. The Hyosan-ri group contains 158 dolmens and the Dasin-ri group, 129. These dolmens are less well preserved than the Jungnim-ri group. The quarry where some of the stones of this group were carved out has been located. This group is dated to around the sixth or fifth century BCE.

Most of the artifacts found on these ancient graves, are now on display at the Gwangju National Museum in Buk-gu, Megokdong.

For more information on this site visit: