Namwon (남원시, 南原市, south.field.city) is a city in Jeollabuk-do. The population as of 2004 was 96,603, including:
- 96,243 Koreans and
- 360 non-Koreans.
- Number of households: 35,291 (2002)
- Administrative divisions: 1 eup, 15 myeon, 7 dong
- Location of city hall: Dotong-dong, Namwon-shi (남원시 도통동 518)
- City flower: 철쭉
- City tree: 배롱나무
- City bird: Swallow (제비)
The city is located at 127°21′~ 127°26′ East, and 35°22′~ 35°28′ North. To the east are the counties of Hamyang and Hadong in Gyeongsangnam-do, to the west are the counties of Imshil and Sunchang, to the north is the county of Jangsu, and to the south are the counties of Gurye and Gokseong in Jeollanam-do.
The Sobaek Mountains go through the east part of the city and often reach over 1,000 metres. Jirisan National Park is also located to the south east of the city. The Yocheon River flows through the middle of the city.
The yearly average temperature is 12.7℃ with an average yearly precipitation of 1,660 mm. The average in January is 0.4℃, and in July 25.9℃. The city is located away from the sea and thus lacks its moderating influence. The parts of the city above 1,000 metres will often have snow remaining until the middle of April.
Namwon is the type of small city that allows for an escape from the bigger cities in Korea. It is often considered the gateway to Jirisan National Park, which have the largest mountains in the South Korean Mainland. It is 3 and a half hours from the Seoul Central City Bus Terminal and about one hour from both the U-Square Bus Terminal in Gwangju and the Jeonju Inter City Bus Terminal. It has enough modern motels, stores, bars, restaurants, and convenience stores (GS 25, Mini Stop, Family Mart, and a 7-11) to make it easily familiar to those accustomed to larger cities and enough "Ma and Pa" businesses to allow one to experience a more traditional side of Korea. It is a city with a country feel to it and history to explore. There are many old tradional homes with narrow streets and winding alleys to explore. It is called "the City of Love" because of the famous love story of Chunhyang (known all over Korea by most Korean people). Gwanghallu Garden is a shrine to this true love story. Below is a summary of some of the things the city has to offer.
It is also the setting for the famous story in Korea of the Chunhyangga. This tells the tale of Chunhyang and is why Namwon is referred to as "The City of Love."
Namwon was founded in 685 during the reign of King Sinmun of Silla. Namwon county was founded in April 1, 1895.
The city suffered during the Siege of Namwon in 1597 which was part of the Imjin War. During the siege that lasted from August 13 to August 16 the only defenders against the Japanese army of 56,000 men were 3300 Korean and Chinese soldiers and 6000 women and children. In the end the Japanese found a way to enter the city and killed all the soldiers and civilians.
Only some are listed below:
Restaurants, Bars, and Shopping
As the average Korean, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants are in abundance throughout Korea and are easy for foreigners to find, the following restaurants reflect a sampling of restaurants considered to be either popular or are western-friendly choices and other ethnic foods. (Many of these are located in the newer part of the city in Dotong Dong.)
There are multiple bars, lounges and karaoke rooms thoughout the city, but the greatest concentration is in the newer part of the city in Dotong Dong.
There are a scattering of shopping throughout the city. The greatest concentration of outlet stores (Nike, Puma, Addidas, Basic House, K Swiss, Dickies, etc) are in the old downtown area in the Guem Dong/Jukhang Dong area near Gwanghallu Garden. There is also an E-Mart in Geum Dong in the bottom of the Keumho Apartment complex. There is a Lotte Super in Dotong Dong (which also houses an English speaking dentist and a hair salon upstairs).
There are a couple of Hotels, a Condo (type of Korean rental), and many Yeogwans and Motels. The newest motels are near the Seoul Express Bus Terminal (up the hill North from the main bar and restaurant area in Dotong Dong). Some of the newest are Ramses, Hyatt, All In, and Opera Motels past the traffic lights just North of the Terminal. There is also a motel almost across the street (behind some local businesses) from the Inter City Bus Terminal in Jukhang Dong.
North Side of the YoCheon (River)
- Gwanghalluwon Garden Address: 78 Cheongeo-dong, Namwon-Si. This garden is a shrine to Chunhyang and has other interesting attractions such as a large swing, a fish lake, and many restored Korean traditional buildings.
- Maninuichong A monument, shrine, and small park dedicated to the aproximately 10,000 dead who fought and gave their lives to try repelling a Japanese invasion in the 1597.
- Gyoryong San Part way up this mountain has the remains of the mountain fortress which has existed since the time of the three kingdoms in Korea. The exterior wall is still visible and stone steps go up to an old Buddist monastery with a large statue of Budda near the top. This mountain is over 500 Meters tall and a great view of the valley below and the city of Namwon can be seen. (It is just a few minutes North by taxi from Maninuichong.)
South Side of the YoCheon (River)
-The Namwon Tourist Area has the three following attractions:
- 1.Chunhyang Theme Park Historical Theme Park
- 2.Namwon Tourist Complex Tradional Restaurants and Businesses, a culture center, a performing arts center, a Buddist coffee shop, and a hiking trail to the top of a local mountain with a great view of the city. (Also has a Tourism Information Office with English Maps and Informational Booklets)
- 3.Namwon Land Amusement Park with Rides.
Outskirts of the City
This festival takes place in early May of every year. In some years, Korean celebrities come to take part in the festivities. There are many tourists (Koreans and Foriegners alike) who crowd to the city to this very longstanding tradition. There are many merchant stalls, games, musicals, parades, traditional dances, fireworks, and other festivities that take place over several days. It is meant to commemorate the beautiful love story between Lee Mong Ryong and Chunhyang in recognition of the faithfulness and chastity of Chunhyang herself.