Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Recommended Travel in Daegu History & rainbow of diversity.

Daegu is a metropolitan city in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province (southeastern part of Korea) close to the cities of Gyeongju and Andong. Nestled into a valley with mountains on practically every side, Daegu was once notorious for its sultry summer weather. In an effort to rectify this naturally sticky situation, the city government planted numerous trees along the city streets, improved the river flow, and built parks and fountains throughout the area. Though still rather muggy in the summer, Daegu has the image of being a clean and environmentally-friendly city.

Though not as widely publicized as the capital city to the north, Daegu is a big city with a large population. With the exception of beaches, the city offers practically everything you could ever want in a Korean travel destination—mountains, temples, historical sites, and a beautiful natural landscape. The city has an advanced textile and fashion industry and is known for its medical tourism and Oriental medicine. Daegu's advanced textile and fashion industry has made the city a forerunner in fashion and its downtown commercial districts is filled with young fashionistas strutting their stuff and showing off in the latest fashion ensembles. The city is so well known for its fashion forward thinking that it is the first place fashion designers go to gauge consumer reactions to new styles and products.

Walking along the unique streets and alleyways of Daegu is an adventure in and of itself. Cultural relics are tucked between modern buildings and there’s plenty to see and do. The modern culture tour that traces the city’s last hundred years of history draws a large number of visitors every day.

Daegu offers so many attractions that it cannot be defined by one color or flavor. So if you’re looking for a smorgasbord of sightseeing, head to Daegu for a rainbow of diversity.

* During the 2011 ‘Visit Daegu Year,’ the IAAF World Championships will be held at the Daegu Stadium from August 27 to September 4, 2011.

Major Tourist Attractions
Daegu simultaneously offers a big city experience and a calming, mountainous vibe. This sometimes odd combination of nature and modernization means that there’s plenty to do. Whether you head to the mountains for a hike, tour the temples or historical sites, or simply wander the popular streets or traditional markets, you’ll never run out of things to do.

Donghwasa Temple
Built in 493 at the foot of Mount Palgongsan, Donghwasa Temple was named after the paulownia that blossom in the wintertime (‘donghwasa’ literally means ‘temple of blooming paulownia’). Once inside the temple, you’ll find Daeungjeon and Geungnakjeon (ancient buildings which are designated provincial cultural assets), Maaebuljwasang (the rock-relief seated Buddha), the three-story stone pagoda, and the Dangganjiju stone pillars. The 33 meter-high Tongil-daebul Buddha Statue was built in 1992 as a symbol of hope for reunification and is a landmark of Donghwasa Temple.

Palgongsan Mountain
Surrounding the northern part of Daegu like traditional folding screen, Palgongsan Mountain (1,192 meters at its highest point) is abundant with unique rock formations and carpeted with lush foliage. Its valleys run with clean, clear waters and the mountain as a whole provides visitors with perfect hiking conditions. Running east to west, Palgongsan is the center of Buddhist culture in the region with 50 or so temples and hermitages like Donghwasa, Pagyesa, and Buinsa. Numerous Buddhist statues and pagodas are scattered throughout its valleys. The mountain divulges a new kind of beauty during each of the four seasons and is full of attractions, making it a popular getaway for locals and tourists throughout the year.

Gatbawi’ is a statue of Buddha that sits against a rocky cliff of Gwanbong Peak that rises 850m above the sea level. The name ‘Gatbawi’ comes from the fact that the Buddha has a flat rock (‘bawi’) on its head that looks like a Korean traditional hat (called a ‘gat’). The statue, designated Treasure No. 431, is one of the most sophisticated Buddha statues of the 9th Century. Legend has it that the statue grants honest prayers, so every year at sunrise on New Year’s Day people flock to the Buddha statue to make a wish for the new year and see the rising sun.

Yangnyeongsi Oriental Medicine Cultural Center

Yangnyeongsi has been known for its quality oriental medicinal herbs for the past 400 years, ever since the Joseon Era. In its heyday, the market was so prosperous that its fame spread to the far reaches of Japan and China. The Yangnyeongsi Oriental Medicine Cultural Center displays the history of Yangnyeongsi, the origin of the ‘yakjeon streets,’ (loosely translated ‘pharmacy streets’), and Oriental medicinal herbs. At the center, visitors can take part in a hands-on program to get an Oriental health check-up or take a break with an oriental foot bath.

Bangjja Yugi (Korean Bronzeware) Museum

The Bangjja Yugi Museum is the first museum in the world to be dedicated to Korean bronzeware (known as ‘bangjja yugi’). This elegant metal tableware is composed of copper and tin and, according to traditional production methods, is heated, hammered, and shaped by several craftsmen working as a team. The museum features 1,500 or so bronze items (musical instruments, containers, and housewares)—all of which are made using traditional processing and manufacturing methods. Also housed at the museum are a store and a reproduction of a traditional bronze workshop.

         Address: Daegu-si Dong-gu Dohak-dong 399 ,For more info: +82-53-606-6171~4

Museum of Natural Dye Arts

Located near Mount Palgongsan, the Museum of Natural Dye Arts has on display naturally dyed artwork, utensils, folk materials, and antique artwork. Groups of 10 or more (with reservations) are invited to try naturally dyeing handkerchiefs, T-shirts, scarves, or hanji papers. Fees vary depending on which article your group decides to dye.  For more info: +82-53-981-4330, +82-10-3813-3040 (Korean, English)

Daegu Safety Theme Park
Amidst the natural beauties and historic treasures, visitors to Daegu will be surprised to find a few very quirky sites, such as the Daegu Safety Theme Park. This hands-on theme park combines safety education with real-life simulations of natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes, and subway accidents. A visit to any of the ‘galleries’ in this very special museum (Life Safety Gallery, Subway Safety Gallery, and Earthquake Safety Gallery) will leave you feeling anything but bored.

The program takes about two hours and includes an orientation on safety and how to survive each natural disaster. Participation in hands-on programs is free, but visitors are asked to make reservations in advance.

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