Located between Seoul and Inchon, Bucheon is centrally located for both transportation and industry. As the 21st century begins, it is becoming a leader in the high-tech industry and foresees a rich future based upon its large-scale consumer market, broad area transportation network, international trade network, and wealth of human resources. Harmonizing industry and nature, Bucheon is a pollution-free green city with 52.9% of its total area being a greenbelt.
Bucheon's history begins on the hallowed fertile plains of Bucheon, with its peaceful farming villages, situated in the central part of the Korean peninsula between Seoul and Inchon. The name of the area differed as times changed. The name Bucheon was first used to designate the area as an administrative district in 1914 when Bucheon county was established. At that time, fifteen townships belonged to Bucheon county including Kyaenam, which later became became Sosa (1931), which gradually changed from a township to a town. The town of Sosa, having grown to a population of 65,000 people, was elevated to the status of city and named Bucheon on July 1, 1973, and has since developed into its current form. Now Bucheon is rising as a metropolitan capital area of 800,000 citizens.
Today, Bucheon (also pronounced Puchon) has become an important cultural center with three universities, several libraries, countless beautiful parks, a modern stadium, theaters, and many museums, including the Cartoon Museum and Ains World. Each year, Bucheon is the site of wonderful festivals, including PIFAN, PISAF, the Boksagol Festival, and both Peach and Cherry Blossom Festivals.
The relationship between Bakersfield and Bucheon began in March, 2005, with representatives from Bucheon first expressing an interest in establishing a Sister City relationship, followed by a group from Bucheon visiting Bakersfield in April, when they toured the city and met with Mayor Harvey Hall. In October, a large delegation from Bucheon, led by Mayor Gung-Pyo Hong, paid an official visit to Bakersfield, where they were welcomed by Mayor Hall and entertained by members of the Korean-American community. The delegation also presented 10,000 Korean-language books to the Kern County Library. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two cities was signed when Mayor Hall and a delegation from Bakersfield visited Bucheon in April, 2006. This was followed by the official signing ceremony, which took place on September 25, 2006, at a gala dinner in Bakersfield.
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