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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

Ulsan from 2002

While researching where the 2010 games would be shown around the city, I discovered this article about Ulsan from the 2002 World Cup.

Ulsan advertises itself as the “Industrial Capital of Korea” and it is a justified tag. It has been cast in Busan’s shadow in the south east of the country, but is steadily beginning to make a mark of its own.

The city was designated as a special industrial zone in 1962 and, within four months, had been upgraded to its present city status.

And in the space of 40 years it has developed from a sleepy fishing village into one the the country’s key industrial centres.

Today, Ulsan accounts for 12% of the nation’s entire industrial production.

One of the key names behind this expansion has been Hyundai.

 As well as cars, the company also has interests in oil refining, petrochemicals, ship building and machinery and, as a result, the city is set for further growth in the 21st century. Hyundai, which produces 1.4 million cars a year, is one of South Korea’s big five jaebol.

Jaebol are family-run conglomerates founded on government-subsidised loans and there are 30 in total in the country.

As well as Hyundai, the other big name jaebols are Samsung, Daewoo, LG (Lucky Goldstar) and SK (Sunkyong).

The change in the city’s fortunes, quite literally, is not wholly surprising.

People of the Gyeongsangdo are renowned as being go-getters.

They are short-tempered and very decisive, making clear-cut decisions when opportunities present themselves.

That is not to say that the city is purely a hard-edged commercial centre.

The stadium at Ulsan, that will host three World Cup matches, is one of the most striking in the competition and boasts a beautiful backdrop.

With sea on one side and rising mountains on the other, the city offers some beautiful backdrops, not least to the World Cup stadium. Beaches dot the coast and two of the most picturesque are Jujeon and Jinhu.

Jujeon is notable for its black pebbles, while Jinhu is surrounded by pine trees.

And, despite its modernity, the city also exhibits its history.

The Petroglyphs of Bangudae are also on the coast.

Patterns, people and animals from the mid-Neolithic to early Iron Age are carved across a vast area of rocks.

The Stone Carvings of Cheonjeon-ri further inland show similar scenes from the Silla period, engraved on huge spherical stones.

The Seoknamsa temple of Mount Gajisan also dates from the Silla period.

As well as housing numerous artefacts of the era it also hosts meetings of female monks.