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Iksan - South Korea

Iksan (Korean: 익산; Korean pronunciation: [ik.s͈an]) is a city and major railway junction in North Jeolla Province, (commonly transliterated as Jeollabuk-do or Chollabuk-do) South Korea.

The city center and railway junction was formerly called "Iri" (Hangul: 이리시; Hanja: 裡里市; RR: Iri-si), but merged with Iksan County (Iksan-gun) in 1995.

The railway junction is located at the point where Jeolla, Janghang and Gunsan Lines meet the Honam Line and is served by frequent train service to/from Seoul, Daejeon, Gwangju, Mokpo, Jeonju, Suncheon, and Yeosu.

Jeonbuk National University Iksan campus (before, it was Iksan National College), the Won Buddhism Graduate School, Wonkwang Health Science College, and Wonkwang University are all located in Iksan.

This city is called “The City of Jewelry." The Iksan Jewelry Museum opened in May 2002 next to a Dinosaur museum.

In late November 2006, Korean authorities quarantined a farm in Iksan and began culling poultry and livestock within a 3-kilometer radius to contain an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

Local tradition includes the story of Seodong and Seonhwa, which was broadcast in 2005~2006 as "Sedongyo" and is also dramatized in the 'Paradise in Autumn Festival.'

Festivals with various themes are held in Iksan, all reflecting local history and culture. These include:

10,000,000 Chrysanthemum Festival (held in October/November)
Iksan Jewelry Expo
Seodong Festival
Stone Culture Festival


Iksan is situated on the Okgu and Keumman Plains, which lead to the West Sea [Yellow Sea]. As it is located very near the sea where ships can transport a wide variety of products, Iksan has served as a logistical and traffic center for a long time.

The city is in the northwestern part of Jeollabuk-do. East are the rugged mountains of Mt. Cheonho and Mt. Mireuk (Mireuksan (Jeollabuk-do)) at the edge of the Noryeong Mountains, and northwest the range of Mt. Hamra lead to a series of hills and a great stream that has formed the fertile Okgu plain to the west. Iksan borders Nonsan-gun and Buyeo-gun, Chuncheongnam-do, and is divided by the Keum-gang[river] in the north. It faces the Kimje Plains, divided by Mankyeong-gang, to the south.

During the Proto-Three Kingdoms period, Jeolla region was the center of the Mahan confederacy among Samhan. There were 15 tribal countries out of 54 in the region. During the period of the Three States, this region came to belong to Baekje when it absorbed Mahan. Baekje was destroyed by the Silla and Chinese Tang dynasty allied force in 660 (20th year of King Uija) and ruled by Tang. It became a part of Silla when Tang was expelled in 676 (16th year of King Munmu).

When there were nine states and five small capitals in Unified Silla in 685, there were Wansan-ju (present Jeonju) and Namwon-gyeong (present Namwon) in Jeollabuk-do in existence.

In 892, when General Gyeon Hwon founded Hubaekje (later Baekje), this area was the center of the country for about 50 years. In 936, during the rule of Singeom, it was attributed to Goryeo Dynasty. From 900 to the time when Hubaekje was attributed to Goryeo, Wansan-ju (present Jeonju) had been its capital, and the country ruled the whole Jeolla-do region.

In 996 (14th year of King Sungjong), this region was named Gangnam province and the Korean government established the four states (Jeonju-Jeonju, Yeongju-Gobu, Sunju-Sunchang, and Maju-Okgu) in the North Jeolla region.

Gangnam-do (Jeonbuk) and Haenam-do (Jeonnam) were combined and titled as Jeolla-do in 1018 (9th year of King Hyeonjong's reign).

The International Fermented Food Expo is the only extra-large international food market where Jeollabuk-do’s abundance of good food and global fermented food can be tasted together. It is an industrial exhibition where new fermented products, technical information, and recent industry trends can be gleaned. Approximately 3,000 food companies, buyers, and food research institutions have participated since 2003. It has helped Jeollabuk-do stand out as an industrial Korean food center with a history of promoting production - with 17.6 billion KRW (won), tourism with 550,000 visitors in 2002, value – with 13.8 billion KRW (won), and employment promotion – hiring 733 people.