Territory - The Korean Peninsula is located in the northeast region of the Asian continent. It borders China and Russia to the north and faces Japan across the Straits of Korea to the southeast.
Korea is located between the latitudes of 33 and 43 degrees north and the longitudes of 124 and 132 degrees east. The east longitude of 127 degrees and 30 minutes and the north latitude of 38 degrees cross the middle of the peninsula.
Total territorial area: 222,300km², Area of South Korea: 99,600km² (45% of the total area)
The Korean Peninsula stretches north-south. The distance from the northernmost tip to the southernmost one is about 840km. Seventy-five percent of the territory is composed of mountainous terrain and have over 3,200 Island.
Korea's northern and eastern regions are generally higher in altitude than other parts of the country, while the southern and western areas are gentle in slope. Thus, the east northern parts of the country are mountainous, where winter snow area, but west southern areas are mainly composed of plains, where not much snow in winter, but good quality’s rice fileds.
The highest peak in South Korea is on Mt. Halla (1,950m) in Jeju Island. Second high mountain is Mt. Jiri (1,915m), Third high mountain is Mt. Seorak (1,708m), and most of the rivers in Korea flow from east to west.
Weather - Korea's climate is temperate with features of both continental and marine climates. Korea has four distinct seasons. Its summer is hot and humid, while winter is cold and dry.
Spring is from April to May, the weather in spring and autumn is generally mild, ideal for outdoor activities. Precipitation is heavier in spring than in autumn, but the weather is balmy and nature rejuvenates with green trees and blooming flowers.
The hottest time of the year, Summer is from June to August. The average temperature in August is 25.4℃. Since the country is surrounded by sea on three sides, from June until August is rainy season now. Autumn is from September to November. Korea's autumn is known for its clear skies and refreshing weather, making this season perfect for outdoor activities. Most sports competitions and regional festivals are scheduled in fall.
December through February is generally the coldest period Winter, with average temperatures ranging from -8℃ in the northern region to 0℃ in the southern coastal areas. Koreans enjoy winter sports and sightseeing during these months. The mountainous regions in the east see heavy snow precipitation, and many ski slopes and sled parks open in these parts of the country during winter.
Population - The population of Korea today, North and South combined, is estimated to be around 70-80 million. Please note that hereinafter will be about South Korea only, and Korea, here, will refer to South Korea. According to the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, as of 2013, the total population of South Korea is 51 million.
20% of the total population live in Seoul. Other large and economically advanced cities such as Busan (population of 3.5 million), Incheon (2.8million), Daegu (2.5 million), Daejeon (1.5 million), Gwangju (1.5 million) and Ulsan (1.1 million) have a higher population density than other cities in Korea.
Language - The official language of Korea is Korean. The Korean language is defined as “a language used mainly around the Korean Peninsula by the Korean people.”
Koreans are defined as the people who live on the Korean Peninsula and the eastern part of Manchuria who form a common cultural group and use the Korean language. The Korean people are Orientals by race and the Korean language is classified as an Altaic language.
A branch of the Korean language, which includes the Tungus language spoken from Siberia to the Volga River region, Mongolian, and Turkish, which is Korean and other Altaic languages share certain structural features. Those characteristics include vowel harmony, initial sound rule, and the agglutinative nature of word derivatives.
Hangeul (한글) - Korea’s official alphabet, was first invented by Joseon Dynasty the 4th King “Sejong”. Originally called Hunminjeongeum (훈민정음), the language was conceived in 1443, and further promulgated by the King in 1446. At the time of its inception, the language consisted of 17 consonants and 11 vowels however, since then, 3 of the originally established consonants and 1 vowel have fallen into disuse bringing the total number of characters to 24. Syllables are formed by the selective combination of vowels and consonants to create words.
The official name for the Korean language was changed to 'Hangeul' in 1910. Hunminjeongeum Proclamation Day was called ‘Gagya Proclamation Day’ up until 1926, and it wasn’t until 1928 that it was changed to its current title, ‘Hangeul Proclamation Day’.
The chart below represents the 24 Hangeul characters together with their romanized equivalents. 'The Hunminjeongeum,' a historical document which provides instructions to educate people on the use of Hangeul, is registered with UNESCO. UNESCO awards a 'King Sejong Literacy Prize,' every year in memory of the inventor of Hangeul.
Hangeul written in syllabic units made up of two, three, or four letters.
The National Flag of Korea - The Korean flag (태극기) is called "Taegeukgi" in Korean. Its design symbolizes the principles of the yin and yang in Oriental philosophy. The circle in the center of the Korean flag is divided into two equal parts. The upper red section represents the proactive cosmic forces of the yang. Conversely, the lower blue section represents the responsive cosmic forces of the yin. The two forces together embody the concepts of continual movement, balance and harmony that characterize the sphere of infinity. The circle is surrounded by four trigrams, one in each corner. Each trigram symbolizes one of the four universal elements: heaven ( ), earth ( ), fire ( ), and water ( ).