Also known as "Pusan"...
...because the Korean writing system signifies some sounds differently. It means roughly "Mountain City"
Busan is the second city of South Korea, between 3.5 and 4 million souls live there. It is the biggest port city in SK, by some metrics the fifth biggest port city in the world. It lies on the eastern extreme of the South coast of the Korean peninsula.The city is divided up by long mountain ranges and the Nakdong and Suyeong rivers. It is impossible to get around the city without using bridges and tunnels. The subway system is the most popular form of public transport, with a fourth line scheduled to open in Dec. 2010. The city is also served by an international airport at Gimhae and an international ferry terminal at the port
As the major port, Busan has always been a point of contact with other cultures, even during Korea's "Hermit Kingdom" isolationist phase. One of the first trading posts that was officially opened (early 15th Century) with Japan, today it is one of the most cosmopolitan parts of a notoriously homogenous country. There are significant Russian and Chinese populations, as well as smaller groups from all over the world who come to work and study. As well as the port, which attracts a lot of foreigners, many people from English speaking countries come to Busan to work as teachers in private academies and public schools, others come from all over South Korea and the world to study. There are two main university areas; Pusan-dae and Kyung-dae, but there are around 15 universities not including the many other colleges and institutes of higher education in the city.
During the Korean War Busan was one of very few places that wasn't completely overrun by the North Korean and Chinese forces. The city was the location of a major refugee camp and the point from which the Combined Forces Command launched their decisive counter attack which pushed back the lines on the maps to where they are now. This has been a major factor behind the rapid expansion and development of the city which continues today.
I've lived here for a year, and I like it a lot.