Daegu was the capital of the former Gyeongsang Province from 1392 until 1896, and has been the capital of North Gyeongsang since that province's formation in 1896. In the 1980s, Daegu became a separately administered provincial-level Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi), and was redesignated as a Metropolitan City (Gwangyeoksi) in 1995.
Daegu is the largest city in the North Gyeongsang region. During the Joseon Dynasty, the city was the administrative, economic and cultural centre of the entire Gyeongsang region, a role largely taken over now by Busan in South Gyeongsang.
During the Korean War, much heavy fighting occurred nearby along the Nakdong River. Daegu sat inside the Busan Perimeter, however, and therefore remained in South Korean hands throughout the war. After the war the city underwent explosive growth, and the population has increased more than tenfold since. The main industries of Daegu are textiles, metals and machine building. The quality of the apples grown around Daegu is renowned around East Asia. For many years in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, most winners of the Miss Korea beauty pageant came from Daegu.
The most popular parks in Daegu are Apsan, a mountain with trails, Buddhist temples, a Korean War museum, and a gondola ride to the peak; Palgongsan, which houses many historic Buddhist temples including Pagyesa and Donghwasa; Dalseong Park, which sits inside a 1,500-year-old earth fortress; and Duryu Park, which has many walking trails as well as a large amusement park.
Nearby tourist attractions include Haeinsa—a Buddhist temple that houses the Tripitaka Koreana (a woodblock edition of the Tripitaka and one of the world's oldest extant complete collections of the Buddhist scriptures)—and the historic city of Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla.
There are five universities in Daegu, including Kyongbuk National University (founded in 1946), Yongnam University, and Kyemyung University.
Area: 885.62 square kilometres.
Population: 2,500,000 (2002 estimate)