Gongju

Gongju (공주,公州), formerly romanised as Kongju, is a city in South Chungcheong province, South Korea.

Understand

Flags of a fallen kingdom.
Map of central Gongju.

Gongju is the former capital of the Baekje Kingdom during Korea's Three Kingdoms period. Whilst the Baekje Dynasty lasted for a total of 678 years from 660 BC to 18 AD, Gongju, referred to at the time as Ungjin, remained the capital for much of that time, with power finally being handed to adjacent Buyeo in 538 AD and staying there until Korea's unification under the southern Silla Dynasty. In the years prior to the Silla invasion many Baekje citizens fled to modern-day Japan.

As such, today, Gongju is a major tourism drawcard of the South Chungcheong area, particularly amongst Japanese tourists of certain ethnic descent, curious about their ancient roots. Or perhaps simply straying from the hot springs resort down the road. Furthermore, it is also one of the many players in the seemingly never-ending struggle to move South Korea's administrative capital out of Seoul, with the greater Gongju are having featured in two of the four top propositions for a new capital.

Tourist Information

Maps and brochures as well as English-speaking staff exist at a tourism information booth outside the main west entrance of Gongsan Fortress, as well as a second at the entrance to the Songsan-ri Burial Mounds.

Orientation

Gongju city proper is bisected east-west by the Geumgang River, with Gongsan Fortress on its southern bank providing a focal point which the city wraps around.

The greater administrative region of Gongju-si on the other hand extends considerably further south, encompassing the entirety of Gyeryongsan National Park and including a few small towns wedged between the reserve and Daejeon to the southeast.

Get in

By bus

Intercity buses service Gongju from both Daejeon's Seobu and Dongbu intercity bus terminals every 30 to 50 minutes with all also stopping by the Yuseong intercity terminal en route. Tickets from Yuseong cost ₩2,900 and take about 20 minutes.

Further services run every 45 minutes direct from Seoul for ₩8,600, as well as from Osan, Suwon, Cheongju and Buyeo.

At the other end, Gongju's "old" intercity bus terminal is a mere 200 m south of the main entrance to Gongsan Fortress. Note that in open defiance of the label, the "old" bus terminal is still very much in use and far more central than the primary one, which is on the north bank of the Geumgang River, opposite Gongsan Fortress.

By car

The city is 125 km from Seoul and lies on the Cheonan-Nonsan Highway (route #25); switch from the Gyeongbu Highway (route #1) at Cheonan. Gongju is also accessible via route #36 from Cheongju and route #32 from Daejeon.

Get around

By bus

Gongju has its own inner-city (shin-nae, 시내) bus system.

By bike

Gongju has its own public-use inner-city bike system. One set of racks exists outside the Baekje Burial Mounds complex (left of the front gate).

On foot

The primary historical attractions including the Songsan-ri Burial Mounds, Gongju National Museum and Gongsan Fortress can all be easily be covered on foot, and are no more than a 10 minute walk from one another. The first and third of these are some of the Baekje Historic Areas on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

See

Lotus Pond and Manharu Pavilion in Gongsan Fortess.
Intricate stonework in the (replica of) King Muryeong's Tomb.
Outoor exhibits of Gongju National Museum.

Do

Hike

Drink

In Singwan many foreigners frequent Iyagi Kage (referred to by foreigners as Art Bar.) It is located above pasta buono on the third floor, across the street from CNA.

Sleep

Gongju provided accommodation to adjacent Daejeon during the Taejon Expo '93, with many of the motels clustered around the (Old) Intercity Bus Terminal.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, January 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.