Thursday, 21 May 2009

Discover Korea #4: BUSAN (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Korea Tourism Organization)

Busan, a bustling city of approximately 3.6 million residents, is located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. The size of Busan is 765.64km² which is 0.8% of the whole land of the Korean Peninsula. The natural environment of Busan is a perfect example of harmony between mountains, rivers and sea. Its geography includes a coastline with superb beaches and scenic cliffs, mountains which provide excellent hiking and extraordinary views, and hot springs scattered throughout the city. Busan enjoys four distinct seasons and a temperate climate that never gets too hot or too cold. Busan is the second largest city in Korea. Its deep harbor and gentle tides have allowed it to grow into the largest container handling port in the country and the fifth largest in the world. In the coming years, capacity is set to grow further with the opening of the New Port. The city’s natural endowments and rich history have resulted in Busan’s increasing reputation as a world class city of tourism and culture, and it is also becoming renowned as an international convention destination.
The first human presence on the Korean Peninsula can be traced back as far as the Paleolithic Age. By examining other remains of the Paleolithic Age (such as the hunting stones) collected in areas known today as Cheongsa-po of Haeundae and the new urban development areas of Jwa-dong and Jung-dong, it appears that people were present in Busan by the late Paleolithic Age. Most of the ruins and remains in the Busan area to date are from the period after the beginning of the Neolithic Age.
The well-known remains of the Neolithic Age in Busan are shell mounds and these are all consistently located near rivers or the sea (locations such as Dongsam-dong, Yeongseon-dong, Dadae-dong, Amnam-dong, Geumgok-dong and Beombang.). It appears therefore that our ancestors’ life centered around fishing. In particular, the Neolithic Culture of the southern coast region was formed around the Busan area. It was influential on the Neolithic Culture found in the Kitakyushu region of Japan.Busan is geographically located in the south-east corner of the Korean Peninsula, and this might explain the late arrival of the Bronze Age there. The ruins and remains of the Bronze Age are being discovered, in places such as Guseo-dong, Geumgang Park, Geumsa-dong, Sajik-dong, Bugok-dong, Goijeong-dong, and Nopo-dong. The ruins being discovered are more numerous and significant when compared with the ruins of the Neolithic Age. Of particular note is the inland location of the ruins on hilly regions some distance from the sea. Bronze Age communities in Busan used no patterned earthenware. There are many more old tombs of the Busan region dating from the Iron Age compared to other regions. Since the place for refining iron was discovered in Dongnae shell-mounds, excavations have shown that Busan was the central production area for Iron. It is also apparent that refined iron from here was exported to Japan, Naglang ,Dabang and other regions by means of the Suyeong River. These facts are recorded in the “Wui History” chapter of the “History of the Three Kingdoms of China”. After this period, there was a historic shift towards the area around the Suyeong River and Oncheon stream. According to studies of literature during that period, small territories such as Geochilsanguk and Dokloguk were influential.In the middle of the 6th century the Silla Kingdom annexed Gaya. After the name for the Busan region was changed from Geochilsanguk to Geochilsangun, in the reign of King Gyeongdeock (757) it was changed again from Geochilsangun to Dongnaehyeon.

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