Korean Folk Village
Suwon and
  Hwaseong Fortress
Ganghwado Island
DMZ & 3rd Tunnel
  The Korean peninsula is located on the eastern side of the Asian continent. It is bordered with Manchuria and Siberia to the north and by the Amnok-gang and Duman-gang rivers and the Baekdusan mountain range ; with mainland China to the west by the Yellow sea. Its east sea faces the Japanese islands between the Korean strait.

Korea, which in overall size comprises of 220,000 square kilometers, is rocky and rugged on the east coast, with a tidal fall of only one or two feet. On the west coast, it is low and less indented, characterized by broad mud flats with a tidal fall from 17 to 27 feet. The northern zone of the nation, above 38 degrees north latitude, has been successively occupied by Soviet military forces and a Communist dictatorship since 1946.

Total population of the Korean peninsula is estimated at 72,000,000, approximately 47,000,000 in Korea, and 25,000,000 in North Korea. The nation's climate is temperate, midway between the continental and marine types, and has four distinct seasons. The hottest season throughout each year begins in August and the coldest is in December.

The rainy season begins in June and ends in August. Autumn in Korea is comparatively cozy and the mild winter of South Korea is said to be characterized by three successive cold days followed by four warm days yearly. Average temperature is recorded at 12°C in spring, 28°C in summer, 13°C in autumn, and 1°C in winter. Koreans all speak and write the same language using the same alphabet.

The language itself is a member of the Ural-Altaic group, which also includes Hungarian, Finnish, and Turkish. It has many different characteristics compared with that of the tribes of the northern region. There is some speculation that the Han races used their own language since very early times, Hangul has kept its genuineness as Korea's own language.

The Korean phonetic system was initiated and invented by the enlightened reign of King Sejong in 1446. At present, Hangul has come into universal use but still with some Chinese ideograms retained in a minimal number only for proper names, technical terms, and the clarification of certain homonyms found in pure Korean. The beginning of Korean history dates back to the legendary period of Dan-gun, who is said to have descended from heaven 24 centuries before Christ, to found a Utopian tribal state bringing the dawn of Korean dynasty.

From the first century A.D., the first historically-documented confederation began to emerge, known as the three Kingdoms; Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla. At the end of the sixth century A.D. Silla, concentrating its desire on unifying the whole country, came into conflict with Goguryeo.

After several centuries of sporadic warfare, Silla defeated its old ally, Baekje, in 661 A.D., and subsequently conquered Goguryeo in 668 A.D. The Korean peninsula was thus unified for the first time and established into a single powerful nation, and experienced a major Buddhist cultural efflorescence. The fragmenting state of Silla was eventually overthrown marking an end to its 1,000 year reign by the Goryeo kingdom which reunified the whole country.

Under the rule of 500 years, Goryeo was continuously harassed outside by northern tribes, such as the Tartars and Mongols. but achieved inside impressive cultural accomplishments including Korean ceramics with their high craftsmanship, and carvings of 81,258 Buddhist scriptures. Tripitaka is on wooden blocks and serves as an offering to Buddha for helping in keeping its flourishing long time reign from invading enemies.

The invention of the movable metal types began 200 years before a similar process was devised in Europe. Joseon (Yi) dynasty, followed by Goryeo reign, was characterized by the form of ruling ideology based upon Confucianism. Late in 1800, Joseon (Yi) dynasty became the target of conquering by the neighbouring powers; Russia, China, and Japan. Finally weakened by factional feuds in the bureaucracy Japan, emerged victor in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and Russo-Japanese War (1904-05), and felt strong enough to establish a protectorate over Korea in 1905 to proclaim outright annexation in 1910.

Korea was then compelled to be under Japanese colonialism for 36 years. At the termination of World War II in 1945, Korea was liberated from Japan's colonial rule. The United Nations Commission on Korea was dispatched to Seoul in January, 1948, to supervise elections under which a unified Korean government would be formed. However, owing to Communist North Korea’s rejection, the general elections were held only in the area south of the 38th parallel to which the commission had access, thereby giving birth to the Republic of Korea.

The communists in the north, meanwhile, established their war capabilities under Soviet Russian sponsorship. In the early hours of June 25, 1950, the north Korean puppet regime unleashed well-armed troops, spearheaded by Russian-built tanks, across the 38th parallel.

Korean forces fought off the communists in the joint operations with U.N. forces and chased the fleeing remnants of North Korean aggressors. The fierce and unexpected assault, however, forced the U.N. troops to retreat past the 38th parallel. On July 27, 1953, the armistice was signed, providing an uneasy, precarious peace in Korea, but putting an end to the shooting hostilities 3 years after the outbreak of the Korean War. Despite incessant provocations by the North Korean Communists, Korea has accomplished rapid economic growth rate and achieved liberal democracy and economic prosperity, and increased its national power.

Korea's growth-oriented, export-led economic development since the 1960s was so remarkable that it earned the expression, "the Miracle on the Hangang River," in the 1970s. Subsequently, Seoul has successfully hosted the 24th Olympics in 1988 and Korea co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup soccer finals with Japan. Through these occasions, Korea has demonstrated to the world her rich cultural heritage and love of art, as well as modern technologies. The size of the Korean economy today ranks 12th in the world, and Korea is working hard to become a world economic leader in the new millennium.