As the provincial capital of North Chungcheong, Cheongju is home to many of the cultural attractions in the region including impressive historical sites and temples. Alongside its heritage, Cheongju is also a busy city with a lot to offer for the modern traveller including an excellent collection of restaurants, many world-class shops and boutique stores as well as interesting markets selling fresh produce and local curiosities.
One of the most memorable historical sites in the region is the Sangdang Mountain Fortress, known locally as Sangdang Sanseong. This 4-metre high wall stretched over 4 kilometres and was originally built in the 1590s, although the fortress as it stands today dates to 1716 due to significant restoration work. Cheongju is also known as the home of Jikji, the oldest printed book in existence which dates back to 1377. This book was printed using movable metal type in Heungdeok Temple, now the home of the Early Printing Museum which explores Jikji in more detail. Cheongju also has a strong culture of spa and bath houses, the finest of which is Spa-Ville situated nearby to the city’s bus terminals.
Cheongju benefits from its own dedicated airport, Cheongju International Airport, which is situated just outside the city. The airport mainly operates flights to and from Jeju International Airport but also has routes to Beijing and Shanghai as well as a few other Chinese destinations. Just next to the airport is Cheongju Airport railway station which offers passage to other cities on the Chungbuk Line. Buses are one of the most popular modes of transportation in Cheongju, with services running throughout the city. Intercity buses also run to most cities in South Korea including Seoul and Busan for those looking to explore the country. Taxis are a common sight in Cheongju and may prove an easier and more direct way to get around for newcomers to the city.
Cheongju has a long and important history befitting its key strategic location in the centre of South Korea. After the opening of the Chungbuk railway line in 1926, the entire region experienced strong development and grew significantly. The city and the surrounding area have been the site of some important historical events including the Battle of Chongju against Japanese invaders in 1593.