South Korea is a sovereign state in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula.
The official name of the country is the Republic of Korea.
The country is bordered by North Korea to the north, the East Sea to the east, the East China Sea to the south, and the Yellow Sea to the west.
The official language is Korean.
As of 1 January 2017, the population of South Korea was estimated to be 50,631,227 people.
It is the 107th largest country in the world by area with 100,210 square kilometers (38,690 square miles).
Seoul is the capital and most populous city in South Korea. It is a huge metropolis where modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets.
South Korea is very hilly and mountainous in the east, where the Taebaek Mountains dominate the landscape. The rugged land slopes west into undulating, flatter coastal plains, where most of its people live, and useable agricultural land is found. These coastal lowlands formed as a result of mountain erosion, and account for only 30% of the country.
South Korea’s highest point is Hallasan, an extinct volcano located on Cheju Island, at 1,950 meters (6,398 feet) above sea level.
South Korea is mostly surrounded by water and has 2,413 kilometers (1,499 miles) of coast line along three seas.
About 3,300 islands, mostly small and uninhabited, lie off the western and southern coasts of South Korea.
Jejudo also known as Jeju Island is the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. The island is the world’s first recipient of UNESCO’s triple crowns in the fields of nature and science – Biosphere Reserve (2002), World Natural Heritage (2007) and World Geoparks (2010). Also, in 2011, Jeju was voted as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
South Korea has 22 national parks. They cover a total of 6.6% of the country’s area, and are typically located in mountainous or coastal regions.
Seoraksan National Park is a national park in South Korea. It listed by the South Korean government with UNESCO as a tentative World Heritage site. The government designated the area as a nature reserve in 1965 and UNESCO designated it as a biosphere reserve in 1982.
The Bukhansan National Park in Seoul and Gyeonggi covers an area of 80 square kilometers (30 square miles) and was established on 2 April 1983. Bukhansan means “mountains north of the Han River.” It is one of the top tourist attractions in South Korea.
South Korea has 12 UNESCO world heritage sites.
Jongmyo is a Confucian shrine dedicated to the perpetuation of memorial services for the deceased kings and queens of the Korean Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). According to UNESCO, the shrine is the oldest royal Confucian shrine preserved and the ritual ceremonies continue a tradition established in the 14th century. The Jongmyo Shrine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995.
Changdeokgung, also known as Changdeokgung Palace or Changdeok Palace, is set within a large park in Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). Changdeokgung was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997 as an “outstanding example of Far Eastern palace architecture and garden design”.
Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty. It is the largest of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the Joseon dynasty, Gyeongbokgung served as the home of Kings of the Joseon dynasty, the Kings’ households, as well as the government of Joseon.
The N Seoul Tower, officially the YTN Seoul Towe and commonly known as the Namsan Tower or Seoul Tower, is a communication and observation tower located on Namsan Mountain in central Seoul, South Korea. At 236 meters (774 feet), it marks the highest point in Seoul. Opened in 1980, this iconic tower offers panoramic views of the city & a revolving restaurant.
The history of South Korea formally begins with its establishment on 17 August 1948, although Syngman Rhee (the first President of South Korea) had officially declared independence two days prior.
In 1950, the communists in the north invaded the south, sparking the beginning of the Korean War. The war raged until 1953, and more than 2.5 million Koreans, Americans, Chinese, and others died. The war was never officially ended, and the Koreas remain divided.
South Korea’s mixed economy ranks 11th nominal and 13th purchasing power parity GDP in the world, identifying it as one of the G-20 major economies.
Most of its wealth comes from manufacturing and service industries, such as banking. It exports ships, cars, computers, and other electronic items.
South Korea is East Asia’s most developed country in the Human Development Index.
In 2005, it became the world’s first country to fully transition to high-speed Internet and today it has the world’s fastest Internet speed and highest smartphone ownership.
Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, noodles, tofu, vegetables, fish and meats. Traditional Korean meals are noted for the number of side dishes, banchan, which accompany steam-cooked short-grain rice.
Kimchi, a fermented, usually spicy vegetable dish is commonly served at every meal and is one of the best known Korean dishes. There are hundreds of different varieties of kimchi in South Korea, and about 1.5 million tons of it is consumed each year.
Koreans’ lives are heavily influenced by Confucianism, a Chinese philosophy that teaches respect and morality.
South Koreans consider the number 4 as unlucky, and it is associated with death. This is a superstition that stems from China. In Chinese, the number 4 sounds very similar to ‘death,’ and the belief crossed over to Korea.
In Korea, the names of the dead used to be written in red ink. Today, it is said that writing someone’s name in red ink signifies that they will die soon.
South Koreans are considered one year old at birth, and at the New Year’s Day one year is added to the person’s age.
In South Korea, blood is a big deal. It doesn’t just deliver oxygen to the rest of your body—it determines your personality. People in South Korea are automatically stereotyped thanks to their blood type. While this belief originated in Japan, it has taken a firm hold in South Korean culture, and it might even make a difference in who marries whom.
South Koreans enjoy showing off their relationship statuses publically. It is common to see couples holding hands, kissing, and even wearing matching outfits.
Most restaurants, including McDonald’s, will deliver food straight to homes in South Korea.
The “Gangnam Style” music video of South Korean K-pop artist Psy has been viewed over 2.7 billion times on YouTube.