Busan is divided into 15 major administrative districts and a single county, together housing a population of approximately 3.6 million. The full metropolitan area, including the adjacent cities of Gimhae and Yangsan, has a population of approximately 4.6 million. The most densely built-up areas of the city are situated in a number of narrow valleys between the Nakdong and the Suyeong Rivers, with mountains separating most of the districts. The Nakdong is Korea's longest river and Busan's Haeundae Beach is also the country's largest.
Busan is a center for international conventions, hosting APEC in 2005. It is also a center for sports tournaments in Korea, having hosted the 2002 Asian Games and FIFA World Cup. It is home to the world's largest department store, the Shinsegae Centum City.
The name "Busan" is the Revised Romanization of the city's Korean name since the late 15th century. It officially replaced the earlier McCune-Reischauer romanization Pusan in 2000. The name (now written using the hangul syllabary) is Sino-Korean for "Cauldron Mountain", believed to be a former name of Mt Hwangryeong (황령산, 荒嶺山, Hwangryeong-san) west of the city center. The area's ancient state Mt Geochil (거칠산국, 居柒山國, Geochilsan-guk, "Rough-Mountain Land") is similarly thought to refer to the same mountain, which towers over the town's harbor on the Suyeong. (The later Silla district of Geochilsan-gun was renamed Dongnae in 757.)
Mt Geochil (Geochilsan-guk) is recorded as a chiefdom of the Jinhan Confederacy in the 2nd–4th centuries. It was absorbed by Silla and organized as a district (gun). The grave goods excavated from mounded burials at Bokcheon-dong indicate that a complex chiefdom ruled by powerful individuals was present in the Busan area in the 4th century, just as Korea's Three Kingdoms were forming. The mounded burials of Bokcheon-dong were built along the top of a ridge that overlooks a wide area that makes up parts of modern-day Dongnae-gu and Yeonje-gu. Archaeologists excavated more than 250 iron weapons and ingots from Burial No. 38, a wooden chamber tomb at Bokcheon-dong.
From the beginning of the 15th century, the Korean government designated Busan as a trading port with the Japanese and allowed their settlement. Other Japanese settlements in Ulsan and Jinhae diminished later, but the Busan settlement continued until Japan invaded Korea in 1592. After the war, diplomatic relations with the new shogunate in Japan were established in 1607, and Busan was permitted to be reconstructed. The Japanese settlement, though relocated into Choryang later, continued to exist until Korea was exposed to modern diplomacy in 1876. In 1876, Busan became the first international port in Korea under the terms of the Treaty of Ganghwa.
During the Japanese rule, Busan developed into a hub trading port with Japan. Busan was the only city in Korea to adopt the steam tramway before electrification was introduced in 1924.
During the Korean War, Busan was one of only two cities in South Korea not captured by the North Korean army within the first three months of the War. As a result, the city became a refugee camp site for Koreans during the war, along with Daegu.
As Busan was one of the few areas in Korea that remained under the control of South Korea throughout the Korean War, for some time it served as a temporary capital of the Republic of Korea. UN troops established a defensive perimeter around the city known as the Pusan Perimeter in the summer and autumn of 1950. Since then, like Seoul, the city has been a self-governing metropolis and has built a strong urban character.
In 1963, Busan separated from Gyeongsangnam-do to become a Directly Governed City (Jikhalsi). In 1983, the provincial capitol of Gyeongsangnam-do was moved from Busan to Changwon.
In 1995, Busan became a Metropolitan City (Gwangyeoksi).
Busan is located on the Southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula. It is located on the coast, which determined the development of the whole city itself. It is the nearest of South Korea's six largest cities to Japan. The distance as the crow flies from Busan to Tsushima Island, Japan, is about 49.5 km (31 mi), to Fukuoka, Japan, about 180 km (112 mi), and by contrast, to Seoul about 314 km (195 mi). Busan borders low mountains on the north and west, and the seas on the south and east. The Nakdong River Delta is located on the west side of the city, and Geumjeongsan, the highest mountain in the city, on the north. The Nakdong River, South Korea's longest river, flows through the west and empties into the Korea Strait. The southeastern region, called Yeongnam in Korea, encompasses both Gyeongsang Provinces and 3 metropolitan cities of Busan, Daegu and Ulsan. Ulsan lies northeast of Busan. Combined population exceeds 13 million.
Located on the southeasternmost tip of the Korean Peninsula, Busan has a cooler version of a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa). Extremely high or low temperatures are rare. The highest temperature ever recorded is 37.3 °C (99.1 °F) on 14 August 2016 while the lowest temperature ever recorded is −14.0 °C (6.8 °F) on 13 January 1915. May to July, late Springs and early Summers, are usually cooler than inland regions because of the ocean effect. Late Summer, and early Autumn, August and September, are generally hot and humid and the city may experience typhoons at that time and be generally rainy. On September 15, 1959, Super Typhoon Sarah passed by the coast of the city and caused catastrophic damage. An unusually severe storm on September 12, 2003, Typhoon Maemi, also caused damage to ships and buildings and resulted in over 48 fatalities.
October and November are generally the most comfortable, with clear skies and pleasant temperatures. Winters are cold and comparatively dry with high winds, but much milder than other parts of Korea except Jeju-do and several islands off the southern coast. Busan and the nearby area has the least amount of snow compared to other regions of Korea due to its location. Snow falls on an average of only about 5 days per year. Even a little accumulation of snow can effectively shut down this seaport city because of the hilly terrain and unfamiliarity of motorists with driving on snow.
In 1957 Busan adopted a division system with the creation of six gu (districts): Busanjin-gu, Dong-gu, Dongnae-gu, Jung-gu, Seo-gu, and Yeongdo-gu. Today, Busan is divided into fifteen gu and one gun (county).
Busan is an international business and financial center and renowned for its machinery, steel, ship building and marine industries, fashion, tourism and trade fairs. Busan is the fifth busiest seaport in the world, with transportation and shipping among the most high-profile aspects of the local economy. Since 1978, Busan has opened three container ports including Jaseungdae, Shinsundae, and Gamman. Busan has one of the world's largest ports and can handle up to 13.2 million TEU shipping containers per year.
The Busan-Jinhae Free Economic Zone Authority, one of two such administrations in Korea, was created to reassert Busan's status as a traditional international trading centre. The port attracts ships from all over the globe and the surrounding area aspires to become a regional financial centre.
Korea Exchange (KRX), Korea's sole securities exchange operator, is headquartered in Busan.
Busan is the home of the headquarters of Renault Samsung Motors, Hanjin Heavy Industries, Busan Bank, Air Busan, Hi Investment & Securities, Woori Aviva Life Insurance, Korea Technology Finance Corporation, Korea Asset Management Corporation, Korea Housing-Finance Corporation, Korea Securities Depository, Korea Housing Guarantee Company, Korea Southern Power Company, BNK Financial Group.
Jagalchi Fish Market is the largest fish market in Korea.
Busan is ranked the fourth best city after Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo among Asia's top convention cities in a 2011 global ranking by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Busan was ranked the 27th among 83 cities and top 8 Asia/Pacific centres of the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) published by UK-based Z/Yen Group in March 2014.
Commercial areas are dispersed throughout the city near busy intersections and adjacent to university campuses, but the two largest central business districts in Busan are Seomyeon and Gwangbok-dong/Nampo-dong. There are also four substantial shopping areas of note: Seomyeon, Gwangbok-dong, Busan Dae Hakap in Jangjeon-dong, and Centum City in Haeundae-gu.
Seomyeon is the crossroads of Busan. The local subway station serves two lines and is one of the busiest in the city. Seomyeon subway station is also home to a large number of underground shops, selling a variety of products, predominately clothing and footwear. These are small boutique shops, selling locally produced products. Though shopping here can be frustrating, as you are often not allowed to try on the merchandise, you are sure to find some great bargains. The local head offices of Korean and international banks are located in Seomyeon. It is recognized as the ascendant shopping and entertainment district. It is also home to "Seomyeon Medical Street", the district encompassing the 1 km-radius range around Lotte Department Store in Seomyeon and the Buam subway station. The Street is home to a total of 160 cosmetic and other medical clinics, including those specializing in cosmetic surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology and dentistry. Directly adjacent to Seomyeon is Bujeon Market, the largest traditional market in the city. Other companies with offices here include Yeolmae Food.
The Gwangbok-dong, Nampo-dong, and Jungang-dong areas form the old central business district. Some of the restaurants in this district use family recipes passed down the generations. Jagalchi Market, a large seafood market, is located in this area. The Gukje Market is also nearby. Jungang-dong is the home of many international law offices, the old Immigration Office, and the international ferry terminal serving Japanese routes. Lotte World II is currently under construction along the water between Jungang-dong 7-Ga and 8-Ga.
Centum City, an industrial complex, is a popular new shopping area with luxury department stores.
Primary and secondary schools:
Colleges and universities:
Busan not only features a variety of antique and souvenir shops, but also unique restaurants, attractions and accommodations.
Nampo-dong is a popular central shopping and café district. The area around Pukyong National University and Kyungsung University also has many cafés, bars, and restaurants attracting college students and youth.
Busan is called the summer capital of Korea since it attracts tourists from all over the country to its six beaches. Luxury hotels and a carnival boardwalk line the beach at Haeundae. Gwangalli Beach has cafés, bars, and restaurants along the beach, and the Grand Gwangan Bridge. Other beaches include Dadaepo Beach on the west edge of the city and Songdo Beach, which is south-central.
Geumjeongsan to the west is a popular weekend hiking spot for Busan residents. To the north, the neighborhoods around Pusan National University (also known as PNU, which is one of the most highly recognized national institutes of higher education in Korea) have student theaters, cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as open-air cultural street performances on weekend nights. Nearby is Beomeosa, the city's main Korean Buddhist temple.
Yongdusan Park occupies 69,000 square meters/17 acres (7 ha) and is home to the Busan Tower, Yongdusan Art Gallery, and the Busan Aquarium. The park supports approximately seventy different species of trees and is a favorite tourist destination, with various cultural events throughout the year.
Dongnae-gu is a wealthy and traditional residential area. Dongnae Oncheon is a natural spa area with many baths, tourist hotels, restaurants, clubs and shopping areas. Many restaurants in the area use family recipes. Chungnyeolsa is a Confucian shrine for soldiers who died during the 16th century battle against the Japanese at Dongnae Fortress.
Taejongdae is a natural park with magnificent cliffs facing the open sea on the island of Yeongdo.
The area known as the "Foreigners' Shopping Street", but commonly referred to as "Texas Street" near part of the Port of Busan, and adjacent to the front entrance to the Busan Train Station (부산역) has many businesses that cater to the local Russian population, as well as the crews of foreign ships. The area was originally the location of the local Chinatown and still contains a Chinese school.
Busan Aquarium, located in Haeundae Beach, is the largest aquarium in South Korea. Haedong Yonggung temple is one of three sacred places related to the Goddess Buddha. It is located right next to the sea. It lies in a mountain in the front and the sea at the back.
Gamcheon-dong, located west of Nampo-dong, is a hidden hillside area within the city with high, sweeping views of the ocean and brightly painted houses.
Busan Citizens Park (formerly Camp Hialeah) is a former Imperial Japanese Army base and United States Army camp located in the Busanjin District.
Busan hosts the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF)—one of the most popular international film festivals in Asia—at the Busan Cinema Center every fall. It is also the home of the Busan Biennale, an international contemporary art biennale which takes place every two years.
It also hosted the 2nd Asia Song Festival, organised by Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange, in 2005.
In 2012 German artist Hendrik Beikirch, along with Public Delivery, painted Asia and the world's tallest mural.
Busan was once a center of military affairs in the southern region of the peninsula and therefore was an important site for diplomatic relationships with Japan; high-ranking officers and officials from the court frequently visited the city. Special foods were prepared for the officers such as Dongnae pajeon (동래파전), a variant of pajeon (Korean savory pancakes), made with whole scallions, sliced chili peppers, and various kinds of seafood in a thick batter of wheat flour, glutinous rice flour, eggs, salt and water.
During the Korean War, Busan was the biggest refugee destination on the peninsula; people from all regions of Korea went there. Some of these refugees stayed and adapted and adjusted the recipes of their local specialties. One of these foods is milmyeon (밀면) (lit. 'wheat noodle') a version of naengmyeon, cold buckwheat noodle soup, but using wheat flour instead. (Naemyeon is originally a specialty food of Hamhung and Pyongyang, now part of North Korea.) Dwaeji gukbap (돼지국밥) (lit. 'pork/pig soup rice') is also a result of Korean War. It is a hearty pork soup and is becoming more popular nationwide.
Busan has the largest hot spring resorts and facilities in Korea.
According to the census of 2005, of the people of Busan 39.2% follow Buddhism and 17.8% follow Christianity (10.4% Protestantism and 7.4% Catholicism). 43% of the population is mostly not religious or follow other indigenous religions.
The city planned to bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, but withdrew after the 2018 Winter Olympics were awarded to Pyeongchang, also located in South Korea. The 2020 Summer Olympics were eventually awarded to Tokyo. It is currently considering bidding to host the or 2032 Summer Olympics.
Sports teams and facilities
Since 1982, the city has been home to the Lotte Giants, who play in the Korea Professional Baseball league. In Korea, Busan is known as the capital of baseball and has a reputation for very enthusiastic baseball fans. For the first few years, the Lotte Giants utilized Gudeok Baseball Stadium as their home. In the mid-1980s, they moved to Sajik Baseball Stadium, which was built as part of a sports complex for the 1986 Asian Games.
The city is home to a K-League football team, the Busan IPark. The team was formerly known as the Daewoo Royals and was a successful team during the 1990s. Busan is also home to a National League football club, the Busan Transportation Corporation.
Busan also has a Korean Basketball League team, the Busan KT Sonicboom that plays in Sajik Arena.
Thoroughbred horse racing is held at Busan-Gyeongnam Horse Racing Park every weekend.
Bicycle Racing is held at "Busan Cydrome," the velodrome in Geumjeong Sports Park, every weekend.
Busan celebrates festivals all year round.
Busan has many hospitals and clinics. Many cosmetic surgery, dermatological, ophthalmic, dental clinics are concentrated in Seomyeon medical street.
Major express bus lines link Busan with other cities in Korea at two primary bus terminals, Nopodong Bus Terminal (at the northern terminus of Subway Line 1) and Seobu Bus Terminal at Sasang Station on Subway Line 2.
134 routes of urban buses service every part of Busan Metropolitan City. (Busan Urban Bus)
Ferries leaving from the International Ferry Terminal on Busan Port Pier 1 connect Busan to the Japanese ports of Izuhara and Hitakatsu on Tsushima Island, as well as the cities of Shimonoseki, Fukuoka, and Osaka on Japan's mainland.
This is administered by the Busan Port Authority.
Busan lies on a number of rail lines, of which the most important is the Gyeongbu Line which connects it to other major cities such as Seoul, Daejeon, and Daegu. All classes of trains run along the Gyeongbu Line, including the superhigh speed KTX trains which provide frequent services to Seoul in approximately 150 minutes. The Gyeongbu Line terminates at Busan Station. Other lines include the Donghae Nambu Line which connects Ulsan, Pohang and Gyeongju.
The Busan Metro network contains four lines: 1, 2, 3, and 4. All four lines are operated by the Busan Transportation Corporation. The Busan-Gimhae Light Rail Transit line connects from Sasang Station (Line 2), Busan to Samgye Station, Gimhae.
Busan is served by Gimhae International Airport in Gangseo-gu. Gimhae International Airport is connected by Busan-Gimhae Light Rail Transit
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