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Gunsan

Gunsan

Gunsan or Kunsan, Jap. Gunzan, city (1995 pop. 266,517), North Jeolla (Cholla) prov., SW South Korea, on the Yellow Sea at the Geum (Kum) River estuary. It is a major port, especially for rice shipments, and is a commercial center for the rice grown in the Geum basin. Rice processing, fishing, and shipbuilding are important industries, and paper, lumber, rubber, and plastic are also produced. The city is also an important railroad hub. Originally a poor fishing village, Gunsan gained importance with the development of its port, which was opened to foreign trade in 1899. The Japanese, who ruled Korea from 1905 to 1945, further developed the city and port.
Gunsan is a city in North Jeolla Province, South Korea. It is located on the south bank of the Geum River just upstream from its exit into the Yellow Sea. Gunsan is served by frequent railway service on the Gunsan Line from Iksan. It is also connected to the Seohaean Expressway.

Kunsan Air Base of the U.S. Air Force is located in the city. To encourage investment, a free trade zone has also been declared in the area.

Famous people from Gunsan include actress Lee Eun-ju and comedian Park Myeong-su, who was born there.

History

Gunsan was a small fishing village on the banks of the Geum River, near to where the river spills into the Yellow Sea. It sits on the fertile western Honam plain where much rice is harvested. Gunsan became a port in the late 1800s largely due to pressure from the Japanese on the Koreans to ship rice to Japan. In 1899, Gunsan Port officially opened up to international trade. Gunsan City was largely settled by Japanese during the period of Japanese colonization. The old (now demolished) City Hall and the Customs House are of Japanese construction. After liberation from the Japanese in 1945, Gunsan began to slowly grow.

The Korean War of the 1950s left the Gunsan area relatively unscathed. The initial drive south by the Communist North Koreans pushed the United Nations and South Korean forces toward Busan so quickly that Gunsan was spared from protracted fighting.

Nevertheless a battalion of Korean Marines, entrenched in the hills above Gunsan Port, withheld overwhelming communist forces. Their bravery created extra time for the evacuation of the town and port. The action is commemorated with a monument on the ridgeline where the heaviest fighting occurred. ()

The drive north by the United Nations forces occurred so rapidly that there was little direct confrontation in the area. After the cessation of hostilities, the United States Air Force occupied nearby Kunsan Air Base, which has had an impact on Gunsan City.

Kunsan Air Base was originally constructed, under Japanese direction, by reclaiming mudflats starting in about 1923. Kunsan Air Base has hosted a variety of USAF combat aircraft. The proximity of US service members to Gunsan City has provided some economic growth to Gunsan City, but the base's influence has waned since the 1990s as a result of a more powerful and diversified Korean economy. The downtown shopping districts that catered to US troops have transformed into areas that are indistinguishable from surrounding areas that serve Korean shoppers. Only a few remaining stores hint at the area's previous manifestation as an American shopping district. Still, a small town (Okku-Silver Town, or more popularly America Town) still caters to US troops. Located about 5 kilometers from the main gate of Kunsan Air Base, America Town hosts a multitude of bars, dance clubs, restaurants and souvenir shops.

Today, Gunsan's economy thrives on fishing, agriculture and heavy industry located west of the city in the reclaimed area known as the Industrial Zone. Perhaps most notably, Daewoo Motors operates a factory here which assembles the Daewoo Kalos, car also sold as the Chevrolet Aveo in the US and as the Holden Barina in Australia and New Zealand. Near the port the Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicle factory is located which produces Daewoo trucks for the domestic and the exporting market. In the domestic market vehicles are sold under Daewoo brand however Tata brandname is used for export due to the dilution of Daewoo brand.

Just south of Gunsan is the newly opened Saemangum Seawall, the longest dyke in the world.

Tourist attractions

Gunsan's most three famous tourist attractions are Gogunsangundo, Eunpa park and Geum river. Gunsan Islands are a group of islands consisting of 16 inhabited islands and 47 uninhabited islands. Gogunsangundo Islands constitutes Shinsido Island, Munyeodo Island, Bangchukdo Island, and Maldo Island, and Seonyudo Island is the center of the islands. Among the isles, Seon-yu Isle has been long recognized as one of the Seon-yu Eight Famous Spots which are renowned for their natural beauty. Passenger ship to Seonyudo Island operates average 6-8 times a day. Depart time differs each month depending on the differences on the tied ebbs and flows.

'Eunpa' has a meaning Silver Wave because of its feature of shining water under sunshine. Originally it was a reservoir for agriculture, but designated as National Tourist Place in 1985. In spring, a 1-km cherry blossom tunnel is formed from the entrance to the facility compound. In summer, people can enjoy wind surfing and boating in the acacia fragrance. In fall, people can enjoy walking along a promenade stretching from the meeting square at the entrance while picking up chestnuts. It is not only as local representative, but also as the nation's tourist place with a mixture of Mulbit(Water and Light) Bridge with 370m length and 3m width. Music fountain operates 8times, 20minutes per round. It selected as one of 100 Big Noted Tourists in Korea in the 'Creating a Good Place to Live' Local Resources Contest.

River mouth bank constructed at he river mouth of Geum Rivers, which was the gate way of Baekje in 1990. It is spotlighted as the largest migrant bird's colony in Korea with reed forests. It become a nation's famous place because of grand sight of many uncommon migratory birds such as Baikal teals, wild ducks, mallards, wild geese, herring gulls, black head gulls, black head Kentish plovers, etc., and approximately 500,000 winter migrant birds of 40 types visit between mid-October and March. 360-degree observatory center helps to observe migrant birds of Geumgang River area easily and in detail and Bird Watching Gallery is the only bird watching facility in Korea to observe migratory birds at the closest distance.

Food

Gunsan is well-known for sliced raw fish, or hae. In addition to the renowned Gunsan Seafood Hotjip right on the water in the old port area, a new hae center is being constructed to the east of the city, by the Geum River dam/bridge. Gunsan also boasts a first-class seafood market. Situated right on the water front, this newer enclosed market has many fresh and frozen fish, crabs and shellfish; salted fish and shrimp and dried fish. On the upper level are a variety of sushi restaurants.

Sister cities

See also

References

  • [1] Lee yunho “Confirmation of formal designation about Saemangeum·Gunsan free economic zone" Jeonbuk provincial office report data 25 Apr 2008
  • [2] Lee myeongbk and Hong sangtae "A Study on the Construction Plan of the Joint Logistics Center in Gunsan Industrial Complex." Korea logistics research associtation inc. 2006 103-125
  • [3] Gunsan city hal
  • [4] Gunsan-si "Visit Gunsan year 2008" tourism guide for Gunsan city 2008
  • [5] Yu heeyeol " A proposal for improving Gunsan port" Gunsanmirae 18 Jan 2008
  • [6] Yeo gitae "A Study on Strategy for Development of Kunsan and Janghang Port" Korea academy of international commerce inc. 2002 209-232
  • [7] Integrated preservation study on the oceanic environments in the Saemangeum area www.saemangeum.re.kr 2007 Retrieved 1 Jul 2008
  • [8] Go seokjung "Creating a Good Place to Live" Local Resources Contest Newsis 23 Nov 2007 www.newsis.com
  • [9] Gunsan passenger ship terminal

External links

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