Photo Essay


Jinju is a very old city. Touted as having a thousand-year history, it used to be known as Goryeonggaya prior to 940. In 1896, it became the seat of power in the newly formed Gyeongsangnam-do province. The provincial capital then shifted to Busan in 1925. There are only a handful of colonial buildings left in Jinju.

Okbong Cathedral served as an important Catholic center affiliated with Munsan Cathedral, which is located outside of the Jinju city center in Musan-eup. Built in 1933 of red brick, Okbong Cathedral has been expanded multiple times. Other renovations are evident as doors and windows on the rear exterior have been bricked over. Its interior appears to be completely new.

okbong cathedral 4 okbong cathedral okbong cathedral 2 okbong cathedral 3

The first picture below is a lone Japanese house sitting on an otherwise uninteresting street. However, just a block over is the old Baeyeong Elementary School. Built in 1938, its exterior is slightly more decorative than other public schools from the same period.1 It is a two-story structure lined with tall, narrow windows along both floors. The central entrances on both sides of the structure have deco styled elements. It is currently undergoing renovation, so the entire building is covered.

jinju lone japanese house baeyeong elementary school 3 baeyeong elementary school 2 baeyeong elementary school 1 baeyeong elementary school 4 baeyeong elementary school 5

This neighborhood is the home of the old Jinju Station. It was actually used by Korail up until a few years ago and is now occupied by a restaurant. In fact, the Korail logos are still printed on the restaurant’s glass doors. The station itself appears to date to the 1930s or 40s, but I haven’t come across anything that can confirm that. Behind it is a former maintenance workshop that dates to 1925. The construction of the Gyeongjeon and Honam lines brought about the construction of this building for repair work. What used to be a lovely little rail yard is now an ugly and unmaintained patch of dirt with a road running through it.2 Though almost all of the railroads have been dismantled, twelve of the tracks that used to serve Jinju Station and the maintenance workshop are still visible on Google Maps. Sadly, the old wooden waiting platform has been torn down. Something that I would not have noticed had the informational plaque not mentioned it is the exterior being riddled with bullet holes from skirmishes during the Korean War (last picture below).

jinju station 1 jinju station 2 jinju rail maintenance 2 jinju rail maintenance 2 jinju rail maintenance 1 jinju rail maintenance 3 jinju rail maintenance 4 jinju rail maintenance 5

To see the entire Flickr gallery, click here.

1김종현, “‘진주 옛 배영초 본관’ 문화재 등록,” idomin (2013).
 김천령, “100년의 역사, 경전선 진주역의 아름다운 퇴장,” 김천령의 바람흔적 (2012).


Building Locations

Okbong Cathedral:

Baeyeong Elementary School:

Railway Maintenance Workshop and Jinju Station:

1 comment on “Jinju

  1. Pingback: Suncheon | Colonial Korea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: