Gwangju Blog



Mt.Mudeng Geopark in Gwangju & Jeonnam has recently been declared a new member of the UNESCO Global Network of National Geoparks, making it the third Korean site to be awarded the title.

The decision was made under a resolution approved by the UNESCO Executive Board during its 204th session held in Paris, France on April 12.

Covering a total area of more than 1,051 square meters, including Gwangju and the counties of Damyang and Hwasun in South Jeolla Province, the Geopark occupies some 20 attractions include columnar joints such as “Seoseokdae” and “Ipseokdae” on Mount Mudeung and a dinosaur fossil site in Seoyu-ri, Hwasun.

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During the dossier verification process, UNESCO experts highly regarded the academic values of the Mt.Medeung Geopark and the world-renowned Jusangjeolli Cliff.

Director of the Parks and Greenery Division of Gwangju City Nam Sang-Chul said the Global Geopark title is UNESCO’s recognition of the diverse landscapes and spiritual cultural values of the Gwangju & Jeonnam area. It will also help the province to boost its sustainable socio-economic development and improve local living standards.

Meanwhile, concurrently, the local authorities have drafted plans and taken actions to protect the environment, natural resources, and biological while promoting tourism in a sustainable manner.




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Not yet different.

Not Yet Different


If we stay around Gwangju long enough, chances are that we begin to notice changes in local visual culture. New buildings erected, old shops gone, recent trends in shopfronts, parking systems or trash collection may be what readily catch the eye. This noticing is even more prevalent when returning to a familiar area after several years absence. Such was my experience after returning to Gwangju after a multi-year hiatus abroad, and after living elsewhere on the peninsula.

One such observation reveals not what has changed, but rather, what has resisted it. When spending time downtown and in the surrounding satellite communities, I noticed how impromptu tent kitchens, or ‘po-cha’ were still visible. Having largely disappeared in other urban centers around the country, these tent pubs and their attached kitchens could still be seen in several spots around the city. Due to their flimsy, improvised-look, these were some of the first drinking establishments which jumped out at me when visiting Korea the first time many years ago. Crammed into streetside parking spaces and large curbs, these tents seemed to provide a space where social classes could mix more freely than in other economically segregated neighborhoods.

The photo above shows a relatively normal scene within one of these ramshackle kitchens at the rear of a streetside tent. Built against a brick wall outside a series of love hotels, the kitchen has made itself a relatively permanent fixture within the local see-scape. With tarp overhead, a middle-aged woman is kept warm and no-doubt, slightly oily by the steamy splatter of countless dishes cooked within. While meant to be temporary, this scene reeks of permanence, of a tradition deeper than what can be easily removed through the revision of local city zoning ordinances. This stays, behind the purely visual changes to a city. While I look forward to these shifts in visual culture, I also am taken to task to feel and photograph what ultimately remains the same.


[Image taken with a Nikon FE2 with a 50mm f1.4 ai-s lens and shooting Ilford Delta 3200.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)





The Gwangju City Office of Education will  pay respects and have commemoration events in honor of those who perished in the Sewol Ferry disaster, under the slogan “I will not forget! We will be with you! “ this April.

Monday the 16th marks the 4th memoriam of the sinking in 2014.

The event will be carried out autonomously by institutions and schools affiliated with the Gwangju City Office of Education who will also open a cyber memorial hall to support the event.

At various schools, from April 9th – 20th, they plan to voluntarily organize various memorial events. The school class materials for the memorials will be shared through the cyber memorial library.

The Youth Memorial Culture Festival and the Gwangju Youth Candlelight Culture Festival will be held on Saturday, April 14, at the May 18th Democratic Plaza, with about 1,000 people expected to attendIMG_3383Janghui-guk, the superintendent of Gwangju City, said, “the whole country shared too much pain over the years and that leads us to fulfil the true democracy, and I hope that never happens to anyone.


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What to Do This Weekend: Zumba, Gwangju Live, and a Fundraiser!

Hello Gwangju!

I don’t think we have to worry about any cold weather this weekend, but we do have Friday the 13th coming up! Let’s see what is happening in our city.

Thursday, April 12th

Courtesy of GIC Zumba with Thando

Courtesy of GIC Zumba with Thando

If you’re looking for an energetic way to get your weekend started then you’re in luck because there is Zumba tonight. Zumba is a fun cardio class that is good for any level. It takes place at the GIC from 7:00 p.m., until 8:00 p.m. You’ll need some comfortable clothes, and a bottle of water, but you’ll definitely feel better and ready for the weekend. Zumba at the GIC is taught by certified instructor Thando Mlambo. If you need more details then please check out their Facebook page.

Friday, April 13th

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

If you’re out tonight then you are definitely going to want to be in the downtown area. First off it’s the always popular Friday specials at Tequilaz. Tacos are only 3,000 won each, and of course you’re going to need something to wash them down with. Unlimited drafts are available for 12,000 won, and unlimited rail cocktails are 20,000 won. All the specials are cash only please. For more details, please go to their Facebook page. After spending some time with friends at Tequilaz, you’ll want to head over to Speakeasy for their Gwangju Live series. Tonight Cheon Joong Choi from the great band The Monday Feeling will be performing. The music will begin at around 10:30 p.m., and yes Speakeasy will be having their own happy hour specials from 7-10 p.m (two places, two specials!). For more details about what’s happening at Speakeasy, please go to their Facebook page. They have some new Magpie beers on draft, and yes, they now accept credit cards!

Saturday, April 14th

Courtesy of Gwangju KOTESOL

Courtesy of Gwangju KOTESOL

This Saturday is the April meeting for the Gwangju-Jeonnam chapter of KOTESOL. The special theme for today will be all about co-teaching. The meeting takes place at Gwangju National University of Education (GNUE), and starts at 1:45 p.m. KOTESOL is a great way to improve your professional development, and also a terrific way to network with other teachers. You’re bound to come away with at least a few ideas that you can use in your classroom. For complete details about the meeting, please click on this link. You can also get more info by going to their Facebook page here.

Courtesy of V-Day Gwangju

Courtesy of V-Day Gwangju

This year’s performance of The Vagina Monologues is coming up at the end of the month, but today there will be two events that highlight the reasons why the show is performed every year. The first one is today’s GIC Talk. The director of the Gwangju production, Dana Han, will be speaking about masculinity and femininity. The lecture will begin at 4:00 p.m., and go for about an hour. The lectures are free to attend, and if you need more details then you can visit their Facebook page. Later on in the evening, at the Dreamers space in the Daein Night Market, there will be a variety show fundraiser. There will be numerous performers, and lots of delicious baked goods will be on sale (items will also be for sale before the lecture at the GIC). The money raised will go towards helping a local women’s shelter. The variety show will go from 6:00 p.m., to 10:00 p.m.

Coming up!

Halloween in springtime!

This year’s performance of The Vagina Monologues

Essentials with JD # 344 ** NAMGU GOSSAUM FESTIVAL 2018**


Looking for something traditional and interesting to do this weekend?

If you are staying in town why not make your way to Gwangju’s Namgu District for their annual Gossaum Festival at Chilseokdong’s Gossaum Park from Saturday to Sunday.


Opening ceremony kicks off at 7:30 PM Saturday (4.14)

Parade 1:30 PM Sunday (4.15)

During the festival, some 300 people will be participating in the demonstration of the National Intangible Cultural Heritage No.33 while various other traditional cultural performances will be staged as well.


“In Gossaum, the term ‘go’ originates from otgoreum (the ribbon bow on a traditional Korean jacket) and refers to a knot tied in a long string to make a loop. Therefore, gossaum, a compound of go and “ssaum,” which means fight, indicate a “match or fight against two teams pulling on knotted ropes”

Gossaum is one of the most representative games in South Korea and is traditionally played on the day of the first full moon according to the Lunar Calendar. This year’s festival was postponed due to the spread of the avian influenza in the winter season.


How to get there :

Taxi 주 소 : Gossaum Theme park 광주광역시 남구 칠석길 28 (구주소:칠석동 127-1)

Bus   170번, 69번, 61번




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